Anecdotes or stories are a great way to liven up a presentation but they should be personal and relevant. People sub-consciously get more lively and enthusiastic when they are talking about themselves. By introducing stories from your personal history not only does it help to get your point across you will do it in a more interesting manner.
Of course they have to be relevant anecdotes. There is little point in telling an interesting and amusing story, which everyone remembers, if it doesn’t help them to remember the message you were trying to get across in the presentation or training course.
Don't be tempted to repeat an amusing story that you have seen someone else telling as part of their presentation. If it didn't actually happen to you, it is very difficult to pass it off as your own. Telling stories third hand loses much of the enthusiasm, which was the whole point of introducing the anecdote into your presentation.
Using analogies to clarify a point is a great idea as long as your audience will understand the analogy. There is little point of using an analogy about driving a car if your audience are all under 17 or live in the Sahara Desert.
Analogies are particularly useful to put numbers in to context.
I once heard how many cubic metres of concrete were used in the construction of the Hoover dam in the USA. I have long since forgotten the figure but still remember the analogy that it was enough to build a 4 foot (1.3m) wide path right the way round the earth's equator.
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