For a lot of presenters, both virtual and in-person, storytelling is a powerful tool for connection, humanization, and relatability. However, for many presenters, telling stories doesn’t come naturally. Further, even presenters that are great storytellers sometimes have a hard time weaving stories into their professional PowerPoint. We get it! Today we’re introducing you to the zoom-in, zoom-out storytelling format to hopefully help with some of the storytelling roadblocks you may face. The bottom line is that if you aren’t telling stories, you have a big part of your audience you may not be reaching. The stories don’t have to be long or involved, but be sure to add them in if at all possible. Let’s dive into how this might work for you.
Of course, the first step in the zoom-in, zoom-out storytelling format is to zoom-in. What this means is to find a really distinct story, maybe about just one instance or person. Get really specific. Focus on just one perspective, and tell that story. A great example of this might be if you’re presenting about a university. Instead of telling a broad story about the university as a whole, try zooming in to one singular student. Share their experience and their journey. Highlight their successes, insecurities, and realizations. Feature a picture of that student in your slide deck to make it even more personal. Share a bit of their back story before they arrived at the university. This is the zoom-in portion of your story. You don’t have to relate this to the big picture quite yet. This is an intimate time to get your audience invested in the individual student’s life and experiences.
We’re keeping it simple, here, folks. The second step of the zoom-in, zoom-out storytelling format is—you guessed it—zooming out. Running with the university example, this would be the perfect time to show the broader narrative of the university and what they did to attract that student or support them. Introduce the bigger picture of all the moving parts taking place behind-the-scenes that the individual may have never seen. Present how that impact can be amplified on a larger scale. If your audience was invested in the story of that single student, paint the picture for them. Allowing them to imagine countless other students having similar or even more impactful experiences gives them a comprehensive viewpoint of your overall narrative.
Avoid the Messy Middle
There’s no need to fill in the gaps between the zoomed-in perspective and the zoomed-out perspective. The beauty of the zoom-in, zoom-out storytelling format is that it is just that simple. Avoid going into too many in-between details. If we are using the university example one last time, where the perspective of a single student and the university as a whole are valuable viewpoints, the messy middle isn’t. Avoid sharing perspectives of a whole classroom or the art department, etc. It’s best to keep this crisp and clean. Draw people in with a personal connection during zoom-in, and then show them the big picture once you zoom out. Hopefully this way, the zoom out is a perfect segue into the rest of your presentation.
Whether you’re a natural storyteller or storytelling is more foreign to you, hopefully the zoom-in, zoom-out storytelling format is an easy tool for when you get stuck. We’ve found that this simple structure helps weed out unnecessary information that may make your story less impactful. Focus on the important stuff, and then get right to the point. Your audience will thank you for it, and maybe even feel more connected to you or your brand in the process.
Need more help than the zoom-in, zoom-out storytelling format can provide? Listen, you’re not alone. We help presenters every day get over hurdles they didn’t even know existed. Sometimes it just takes an outside perspective to guide you to that stroke of genius that was there all along. Let us know which of our full suite of service offerings you may want to explore, and we’ll get you a free quote within a few hours of our discovery call with you. Happy presenting!