• Akos Gerold

Do you want to land your message powerfully? Use the right story perspective.

Your lens or your audience's lens?

You used storytelling in a presentation but have the feeling the audience did not connect well with your message?

One of the reasons could be that you did not tell the story from the right perspective. And the right perspective is the one with which the audience identifies the most easily.

If their perspective matches with yours in a story, then telling it from your point of view is the best solution.

However, if their perspective is the opposite of yours, then you’d better make a mental 180º-shift and tell your own story from the opposite perspective to help them identify with it and thus land your message more powerfully.

Much easier said than done.

Here is an example of choosing the wrong perspective and how to correct it. It is based on my work with a client in Brazil I do presentation mentoring for. Although the example comes from the state sector, the exact same approach to perspective will help you sell your ideas to a boss or your colleagues or sell your product or service to clients in other contexts.

Mauricio (not his real name) represents a state authority and has been asked to talk to representatives of the domestic industry about the protection the authority can provide them against foreign companies being subsidised by their governments. Such subsidies can skew competition in the foreign companies' favour.

Mauricio came to one of our sessions with a plan. He wanted to explain how the state authority conducts trade remedy investigations and why it is important for industry representatives to file petitions for different types of trade remedies, not just one.

Despite his content being relevant, he had planned most of the story through his own lens — that of the state authority. His presentation sounded like long quotes from a legislation or a handbook on how the authority conducts its processes.

But this approach would have made it difficult for the corporate audience to connect with the story. It would have failed in motivating them to do what the presentation was meant to achieve. Forcing them to make the mental shift from the speaker's perspective to theirs would have made it more difficult for them to apply his message to themselves and thus benefit from his talk. It would have also left a lot of space for drawing the wrong conclusion.

Instead, I suggested telling the story from an imaginary Brazilian company's perspective, making the audience the "hero" of the story. This way, his audience will not have to keep making a mental shift and will feel his story is about them and not him.

How powerfully you land your message often depends on how easy you make it for your audience to identify with what you are sharing with them. Taking their perspective, rather than your own, goes a long way towards achieving this.

When did you have to tell your own story from somebody else’s view? How effective was this shift in landing your message?

Happy presenting!

If you find the ideas in this post interesting, drop me a line. Share what aspects of your presentations you would be interested in improving. And I’ll be happy to cover it in a post.

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Akos Gerold

Brasília, Brazil


Tel: +55 61 99880-9919

WhatsApp: +55 61 99880-9919



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