How To Tell Stories As A Part Of A Speech

When told correctly, stories can captivate an audience
When told correctly, stories can captivate an audience
Image Credit: DaveBleasdale

As speakers, every time that we deliver a speech, we’d like to be able to use the importance of public speaking to draw our audience into our speech. We’d like to make it so that they experience what we are telling them. A great way to make this happen is to include stories in our speech. Stories allow us to introduce outside characters, move the talk to a new location, and if we want even to move through time. However, a story can be a tricky thing to include in a speech. As speakers we need to make sure that when we include a story in our speech, we go about doing it the right way.

Tell Stories Using The Present Tense

When we share a story with our audience, we want them to become involved in the story. As we tell it, we want them to feel like the story is happening right then. This way they’ll get involved and they’ll be eager to find out what comes next. In order to make this happen, when we tell a story we’ll want to be sure to tell it in the present tense. By doing this we are going to make the story that we are telling come across as being more dynamic and more engaging for our audience.

Act Out All Of Your Characters

When we are giving a speech, it can be pretty lonely up there – it’s just us. That’s where some of the power of stories can come from. When you share a story with your audience, you have the ability to take the time to act out each of the characters in your story. Instead of saying “so and so did this…”, instead, become that person and then do what they did and tell your audience about this. The real power from doing this comes because you now have the ability to become inanimate objects and allow them to share their part of the story with your audience. All of a sudden, that stage that you are talking from can become fairly crowded!

Accentuate Emotional Moments

In every story that we share with our audience, there will be important emotional moments. As the speaker, its going to be your job to draw your audience’s attention to the important parts of your speech, the emotional moments. In order to make this happen you are going to have to change your speaking pattern when you get to an emotional moment. The first thing that you are going to have to do is slow your speaking down. This will alert your audience that you are approaching an important part of your speech. Next, you are going to want to use short staccato phrases to express the thoughts of the character that you are currently talking about. This will allow you to dramatize your story.

Use Movement

It turns out that when we are sharing a story with our audience, we can use our entire body to tell the story. We do need to be careful here. What we are not going to want to do is to pace. If we do that, then we’ll run the risk of hypnotizing our audience and, gasp, perhaps making them go to sleep. Instead, you’ll want to use your entire presentation area and move to different locations as you become different characters in your story. You can also move to a different part of the stage when you are ending your story so that your audience will know that you’ve reached the conclusion.

End Your Story With A Lesson

There is a reason that you went to the effort of sharing a story with your audience. Once you’ve allowed them to sit through your story and hear the entire thing, you’ll want to make sure that you wrap things up on a strong note. A great way to go about doing this is to share lessons learned with your audience based on the story that you’ve just told them. By doing this you’ll provide your audience with a takeaway from your story. This will allow them to better understand how they can work the message of your story into their lives.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers, we’d like to find ways to fully connect with our next audience and share the benefits of public speaking with them. We want to be able to bring them along with us as we share our stories with them. A great way to make this happen is to incorporate stories into your next speech. When you deliver a speech to your audience, you need to take care and do it correctly so that they will be able to get the maximum value out of it.

When we are telling stories to our audience as a part of a speech, we want to make sure that we tell these stories in the present tense. By doing this we’ll make the stories seem more dynamic and come alive. Our stories often have multiple characters in them. As speakers, we should act out each one of the characters in our story so that we can bring them to life for our audience. Every story has its set of emotional moments. As speakers, we need to slow down when we reach these spots and dramatize them by allowing our characters to speak. When we are sharing a story, we can tell the story using our entire body. We need to be careful where we are on the stage in order to allow our audience to follow along with us. When we reach the end of our story, we need to provide our audience with lessons learned. This will provide them with a takeaway that they can use to relate our story to their lives.

Stories are a powerful tool that is available to every speaker. We need to take great care when we are sharing a story with our audience. If we understand what it is going to take in order to ensure that our audience will appreciate our story, then we’ll be able to both capture and hold on to their attention. In your next speech, add a story to drive your point home to your audience.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How many stories do you think that you could add to a typical speech?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!

Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How good of yeller are you? I mean, if you were giving a speech in a really big room that was crowded with people, could you yell your speech loud enough to make sure that even the people in the back could hear what you were saying? If you are like me, you might be able to do this for a while, but you sure could not do it for an entire speech. That’s why we need help when we find ourselves in situations like this. This is when the microphone comes in to play. However, it turns out that using a microphone is not as simple as it might initially appear. There is a right way to go about doing this and a wrong way.

Leave a Comment