Few words have more power – and baggage – than “story.” It describes everything from novels, movies, and TV shows to news reports, histories, and podcasts. In business, we love to borrow the power of “story,” even when it’s probably the wrong word choice.

Often, we think we’re storytelling when, in fact, we’re arguing. We’re more like lawyers in the courthouse than old-fashioned storytellers glowing in front of a campfire.

Rather than tell a story, we use stories to back up our arguments. Stories supply evidence, emotion and imagery that a purely logical argument lacks.

Most of us do business presentations in which consensus, decisions, solutions and investments are among the intended outcomes – not entertainment for its own sake. Far from knocking “storytelling,” I want to show how this distinction between stories and arguments can help us become better presenters.

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