Five ways storytelling can enhance your event

Monica Rosenfeld, founder of Stories That Stir, provides five tips for elevating your event through the power of storytelling.

Storytelling is a fantastic way to transform your events from “blah to brilliant”. By weaving storytelling into your event, delegates will leave feeling emotionally connected to the speakers, each other and, most importantly, the organisation hosting the event.

Here are five ways to use the power of storytelling at your event:

1) Include storytelling as part of your marketing collateral

Storytelling is a powerful way to get people to attend your event because when we engage with a story, it bypasses our headspace where we do all our rational thinking (the enemy of marketers) and goes straight to our heart-space, which is where we feel our emotions.

For example, if you’re putting on an event around the topic of safety at work, instead of copy such as, “Come to the Safety at Work Conference where you will learn the latest practices to ensure your business is compliant”, highlight a true story where someone was negatively impacted by not being safe at work. The call to action would be something like, “If you want to prevent this situation happening to your organisation, come to the Safety at Work Conference.”

2) Lead with storytelling

Set the tone for your event by getting whoever does the welcome address – such as the CEO or association president – to share a personal story linked to the topic of the event. The audience will be engaged from the get-go and feel emotionally connected to the host and, in turn, the organisation putting on the event.

3) Include storytelling in presentations

Encourage speakers to use storytelling as part of their presentations. For employees of the organisation, members of the association or sponsors, storytelling doesn’t always come naturally. Invest in a storytelling coach because the engagement you’ll get from the audience will be well worth it.

4) Encourage delegates to connect on a deeper level

A great way to foster connection with delegates is to give a printed card to each of them that says, “Tell me a story about” and then have different options relating to the industry. Examples include, “Tell me a story about the biggest lesson you’ve learnt this year”, “Tell me a story about what you’re celebrating right now”, and “Tell me a story about how you came to work in this industry”.

5) Include a stories-that-stir segment in your conference agenda

I work with event professionals to create a storytelling segment within conferences. Six people from the community of the organisation each share a 10-minute personal story linked to the theme of the conference. I help them craft their stories and teach presentation skills so they feel confident in their delivery.

A segment such as this gets people feeling emotionally connected with the storytellers, each other and the organisation. The magical impression that is formed will have people raving about your event.


Sign up now

Join our mailing list to keep up to date with the latest event industry news direct to your inbox

The A-Z guide for organising events