storytelling techniques for business

If you are presenting to a cross-cultural audience and need your message to poke them right between the eyes so that they sit up, listen and then take action, you need to tell interesting stories.

In a multi-cultural business, stories are what connects us; giving meaning to our messages and creating a strong emotional bond between you (the speaker) and your audience.

Although storytelling is something most of us were bought up to listen to as we drifted off to sleep as children, not everyone is able to tell effective stories that engage their colleagues, team, or customers.

I’m going to share with you four effective business storytelling techniques that will help you inspire a cross-cultural audience and get them to instantly engage with you.


1. Build rapport

An effective presenter is one that builds rapport with your audience early on so that you command the audiences’ attention. In my presentation coaching sessions, I am often asked “how do I build rapport with an audience who don’t know me?”.

The answer is simple. The first 7 seconds of your speech count the most.

In Bill Clinton’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention he opened like this:

“In the Spring of 1971, I met a girl.”

He jumped right into his story, creating intrigue and suspense straight away. The audience was hooked.


2. Use contrasts and extremes

Many successful presentations use contrasts to help an audience paint their own picture and visualize two stark extremes clearly. You can do this through the narrative and the characters in your story to take people on a journey and build tension.

Failure versus success, loss versus gain, rich versus poor, old way versus the new way – all give you scope to take your audience on a journey through the use of contrast.


3. Make your story personal

When you tell a story from a personal perspective, it makes your audience establish a deep emotional connection with you.

You don’t have to share your deepest secrets, but how about your personal journey as a leader? Include the challenges, the struggles, the frustrations, the turning point so that your audience can learn from it. This allows you to connect better, show your humanness and deliver your message in a more impactful and memorable way.


4. Tie a bow around your message

When you close your presentation with the same words, thought, or story, from your opening, it’s called the circular approach, and it’s like tying a bow around your message.

Think about how you can tie your opening and closing together in a clever way. Remember, it’s your last words that are going to linger, so you’ll want to leave them with a strong reinforcement of a key idea, message or inspirational thought from your presentation.


By telling well-crafted personal stories you will be able to connect, captivate and influence a cross-cultural audience. While not everyone is born a natural presenter or public speaker, I can teach you the techniques to engage your audience with confidence, clarity and conviction.

Book a 30-minute Discovery Call with me and let’s have a conversation about how we can capture your key messages into a memorable story.

One Comment

  1. […] share these, you may need to adjust your language and the words you choose, this is where my cross-cultural communication skills training comes in to help leaders adapt their message to a global […]

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