(Note: To see the video for this post, CLICK HERE)

Compare these two experiences:

Speaker #1 says: “I walked into the room. The silence was overwhelming. I felt the weight of a hundred eyes staring at me.”

Speaker #2 says: “I walk into the room. The silence is overwhelming. I feel the weight of a hundred eyes staring at me.”

Which one grabs your attention more?

Chances are the second speaker does because presenting in the past tense feels like you’re giving a report and in the present tense pulls you in and makes you feel you are in the scene.

The Ideal World Of Present Tense

Present tense brings a sense of immediacy and engagement that past tense lacks. When you share your story in present tense, you’re inviting your audience to experience the events alongside you in real-time.

This approach is powerful in storytelling because it creates a sense of urgency and connection. If your narrative feels alive and immediate, then your audience is more likely to be hooked and engaged.

The Comfort Of Past Tense

Past tense has its own strengths. It offers a reflective perspective that allows for deeper insights because when you recount events in the past tense, you often have a different context and analysis that the present tense might lack.

This can be crucial for conveying lessons learned and the wisdom gained from experiences, but if your narrative is too distant and reflective, then your audience might feel detached and less involved in the story.

The Balance And The Benefit

So, how do you choose between the two?

Combine the two. Tell your stories in the present tense to provide the you-are-there experience.

It makes your story feel alive and urgent, and pulls your audience into the action. For example, in a keynote speech, using the present tense to describe a turning point makes the moment feel more impactful and inspiring.

Once your story is ended, shift into past tense and share the lessons and insights from your experiences. This allows you to frame the narrative with the benefit of hindsight, which provides a clear path from challenge to resolution.

In a business presentation, for instance, recounting a successful project in the past tense can highlight the steps taken and the outcomes achieved. This makes it easier for your audience to follow and learn from your experience.

The power of present and past tense in storytelling lies in its ability to shape your audience’s perception and engagement. Choose the most relevant tense for your narrative; you’ll enhance the emotional impact of your story and connect more deeply with your audience.


Every storyteller faces challenges. Sometimes, it’s hard to keep your audience engaged, or maybe you’re not sure how to make your stories relatable and impactful.

But what if you could turn these challenges into opportunities?

With the High Impact Storytelling ABS Toolkit, you’ll discover how to navigate these obstacles and come out on top. This toolkit will guide you through:

Easily creating the first version of your story

– Creating emotional connection with relevant narrative details

– Entering each presentation situation with confidence that you are ready

In a two days, we’ll open the shopping cart for you to buy our new High Impact Storytelling ABS Toolkit. Until then, check out this video for more details on how it can best help improve your storytelling impact: CLICK HERE


This One Change Will Dramatically Improve Your Storytelling Impact ultima modifica: 2024-06-24T18:37:49-04:00 da Michael Davis