How to use stories and case studies in your next presentation

In this video, you'll learn a fantastic attention-grabber that will capture the interest of almost any audience, why stories are so powerful, and much, much more!

Kathleen D. Pagana, PhD CSP™
Kathleen D. Pagana, PhD CSP™
31st Jul 2017 • 4m read

Humans are hard-wired for stories. In this video, you will learn, among other things, a fantastic attention-grabber that will capture the interest of almost any audience, why stories are so powerful, and much, much more.

This teaching video contains several hands-on tips and tricks on how to boost your success rate on grand-rounds, talks at conferences, or wherever else you want to speak.

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Video Transcript

[00:00:00] During a presentation, there are six words that audiences love to hear—let me tell you a story. They perk up and listen, they sense that something important is being brought to life to make the message more real, understandable, and memorable. Stories are important in all types of communication because they add interest. For example, president of a pharmaceutical company was giving an annual report. They focused on financial data, however, he included

[00:00:30] a case study showing a photo of a woman in a wheelchair with rheumatoid arthritis. He mentioned that their top-selling drug was indicated for her problem. He then showed a photo of the same woman walking after six months of treatment. Stories like this made the rest of the report more interesting. Case studies are stories about patients. I will never forget when one of my daughters was diagnosed with Addison's disease. It was so helpful to read a case study about a medical student who almost dropped out of medical school,

[00:01:00] due to exhaustion then he was diagnosed with Addison's disease. With treatment, he continued his education. This case study gave me good insight and hope for my daughter. Most audience members, whether patients, medical students or nurses, will benefit from case studies. Doug Stevenson is well-known for telling great stories. He says that many well-known speakers are known for their stories. There are many benefits of storytelling. Here are four examples. Stories

[00:01:30] engage the left and the right brain. Your left brain is linear and deals with facts and data. Your right brain is non-linear and deals with feelings and creativity. Stories help communicate to both sides of the brain. That is why it is helpful to illustrate facts and statistics with stories and also helpful to back up stories with facts and statistics. Stories appeal to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles. A good story can

[00:02:00] interest all these different styles. Stories provide an opportunity to be original. Your stories are not common knowledge. Audiences are eager to hear what comes next in your story because everything is new. Stories can make familiar information fresh and interesting. According to Steven Denning, audiences co-create stories by adding to the story with their own mental images of the settings and the participants. This co-creation results in audience members taking

[00:02:30] ownership in the story. Denning said, this explains why the only thing some people can remember weeks after a presentation, are the stories that the speaker told. So, collect stories and case studies. Don't wait until you are putting together a presentation to try to remember them. As soon as you hear about or read something that may be interesting in a future presentation, write it down. Many speakers apply the SPA when telling stories. The story must have a point and an application.

[00:03:00] Don't just tell a story because you like it. Stories are not just for fun. The point must be related to the topic and must apply it to your audience. For example, in presentations about life balance. I emphasized the importance of exercise. I tell a story about a man who procrastinates at work. I make the point if you procrastinate with things you have to do. It's even easier to put off things that are optional such as exercise. My application is, don't wait for a good time to start exercising.

[00:03:30] There's never a good time, just start. So, think about adding a relevant story. You'll find that stories in case studies can separate a good speaker from a great speaker and a dry presentation from an interesting one. If you enjoy this video, make sure to check out our medical presentation essentials course and register for a free trial account, which will give you access to selected videos and quizzes from the course. You can earn CME credits

[00:04:00] with every Medmastery course. If you want to learn more about how Medmastery can help you become a great clinician, be sure to watch the About Medmastery video.