Proceedings of the 16th International Academic Conference, Amsterdam




From February 2014 to June 2014 I listened to and viewed about 200 student presentations in the field of international business at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences in the Rotterdam Business School's International Business and Language Department. I was teaching the entire third year student body in the English program (level B2 to C1). These students were Dutch and international students with English as a Foreign Language, and I am American and a native speaker. What struck me as I was audience to so many presentations was those presentations that did not seem to meet the requirements stood out because rather than just present the standard introduction, body and conclusion along with an array of dates and/or statistics they were delivered through the art of storytelling. Furthermore, the storytelling format no doubt was an aid in their memory and delivery of their presentation in a foreign language, English. Because the presentations were told in a storytelling format, they were far more interesting than the others, and they were far more persuasive. The persuasive presentation of course is very important in the business arena. Gallo recommends that you start by narrating the story, then gather photos, especially those with faces in them. He says presentations with more images than words are more successful. Next include video clips. (A number of my students included video clips but I limited them to 2 minutes as it was a 12 minute presentation.) Storyboard the slides next and then and only then finally create the presentation. There is a long history of the teaching of language learning and storytelling. Massa emphasizes the benefits for the English language learner who is listening to the stories, suggesting the benefits to the rest of my class who are audience to countless presentations over a six month period: "The students will also learn through storytelling that their ability to listen to others will increase, expanding both their vocabulary, knowledge base and sentence structure." I would like to focus in particular on the potential for persuasive business presentations through the art of storytelling by English language learners.

Keywords: presentations, business, storytelling, language learning, memory

DOI: 10.20472/IAC.2015.016.023

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