The 3 Keys To Telling A Good Story During A Speech

by drjim on September 13, 2011

Stories Have Worked For Public Speakers For A Long Time

Stories Have Worked For Public Speakers For A Long Time

Once you’ve found a way to overcome the fear that we all feel when it comes to speaking in public, you move on to the next stage: wanting to become an effective speaker. I mean, as long as you are going to the effort, you may as well make it count! It turns out that you already have the skill that you need in order to make your message stick with your audience…

The Power Of Telling Stories

All too often speakers dismiss stories as being something that are only suitable for when we deal with children. The reality is that stories are how adults exchange information every day. Think of all of the books, TV shows, and movies that you’ve watched – they were all telling you stories.

In fact, mankind has been using stories to exchange information for over 1,000,000 years. The reason that we use stories is because they are a fantastic way to get our audience to remember what we’ve said.

Stories cause our audience to create pictures in their head. The better a story that we tell, the more vivid the picture that we paint in their minds.

The 3 Keys To Telling A Good Story

In order to tell stories that “stick”, you need to understand and use the 3 keys to great storytelling.

The first key is to invite your audience to listen to your story. This is often done by asking them a question that catches their attention and makes them want to know more. An example would be “Two months ago I was homeless and living out of my car. I met a man who shared with me three words that completely changed my life, would you like to know what they were?”

The next key is to tap into your audience’s imagination. What this means is that you don’t actually have to draw the entire mental image for them. If you provide just enough detail, they will gladly fill in the rest of the picture. What’s so great about this is that they’ll add far more detail to your story’s mental images than you ever could.

Finally, as you tell your story you need to make sure that you are having influence over your audience. This means that you need to carefully watch them and make sure that you adjust how you are telling your story in order to make sure that you grab their attention and don’t let go of it.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers there are a lot of different things that we can do in order to accomplish our main objective – changing the lives of our audiences. One of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal is storytelling.

In order to tell an effective and memorable story, you need to know and understand the three keys of storytelling: invite, imagine, and influence. Master these techniques and your stories will make a lasting positive impact on your audiences.

We are all born storytellers. This is a skill that somehow comes along with our human DNA. However, we can all become better at this skill. Use these three keys and you’ll become an even more effective speaker.

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

Question For You: Which of the three keys do you think is the most important for the types of stories that you tell?

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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 www.Toastmasters.org. 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

You’ve got fantastic thing to tell your audience. They are lucky enough to be able to sit in the room when you give a speech. If you want to do a good job of connecting with your audience, then you’ve got to know and put into practice the most important secret that all successful public speakers already know.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Kite November 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

As an acting coach and speaking coach I cover, in depth, Sense Memory – an acting tool – which is at the top of my list for good story telling. It takes to learn and that’s why I have a special hour and a half class for all my clients to familiarize themselves with this important tool. You should look into it. Or come to one of my classes.

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Dr. Jim Anderson November 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Barbara: you bring up a great point — in order to tell a good story, we really have to feel the story. As with all thing human, it all starts with how we feel about something…

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