Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

Using stories in public speaking

Posted by Presentation Skills on September 2, 2007

As a speaker, it is your duty to connect with your audience.  It does not matter what the topic is, or who is in your audience, if you are not connecting with your audience your message is not getting through. 

One of the easiest ways to connect with your audience is with the use of simple stories. Simple stories are anecdotes that illustrate the point that you want to make.   

We use stories in our daily conversations.  Have you ever told a work colleague what happened on the way to work; your partner what you did at work, or the kids about what you did when you were young?  These are all simple stories that people share. 

People are drawn to these stories because of the emotion that is contained in them.  Your story of the trip to work may generate the emotion of laughter; you may share the emotion of frustration or success when describing to your partner what happened at work.  And your kids love the emotion of excitement from when you were younger. 

But where are the stories for your presentation?  Simply look at the facts and figures and ask yourself, “What do they mean?”, “What is the storey behind them?”  It is story behind the facts and figures that people want.  If you “facts and figures” tell you that your clients can save 10% by switching their services to you, tell them a story of someone who has achieved that.  That’s a story! 

Very few people will feel warm and fuzzy about facts; however, they will remember your stories long after the facts have been forgotten.

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