Love ’em or hate ’em, politicians are by and large fantastic communicators. If you take a look at their technique they may be lacking; however, they sure seem to be very good at getting their point across and wining audiences over. Wouldn’t it be great if we could figure out how they do that?
There are a number of speaking techniques that politicians use, but the one that packs the biggest punch is our old friend the story. Caren Neile has done some research into just how politicians use stories and she’s discovered some things that we can use to make our presentations even better.
Ronald Reagan was known as the great communicator due in a large part to the numerous stories that he would tell. He wasn’t just telling stories to fill space in his speeches, rather he was trying to make points and emphasis parts of his speech.
For politicians, there are four main story-lines that they use over and over:
- We take care of our own.
- We must protect ourselves from our enemies.
- We can’t trust the people who are running government and business.
- Anyone can succeed.
The reason that these four story-lines are used is because they are time tested – politicians know that they work, audiences respond to them every time.
For us speakers, we can take advantage of the years of research that politicians have done for us and start to use more stories. We can use the four story-lines that have served our leaders so well for so long and create our own stories that flow in these well-worn ruts. By doing this we almost assure ourselves of being successful with our audiences.
Do you use stories when you give a speech? Have you ever told a story that fit one of these story-lines? How was it received? Do you have stories that you could make fit these story-lines? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.