[Image by Alexa of Pixabay]

Who doesn’t like a story?  In case you’re wondering why that’s the case, it’s because most of us were read to as children and loved hearing stories.

That brings us to the skill of public speaking.  Knowing how to effectively tell a story while presenting to an audience is in my opinion…your golden key.  In my business communication practice, I often remind my clients of the value of good story telling. Not only does story telling add a whole new dimension to public speaking, but also, it’s one way of increasing the retention of your message.  Here are questions to ask yourself as you’re preparing to include a story:

  1. Where do you look for stories? One idea is to create a repository, either online or manually, where you and others can select the optimal story that fits your message.
  2. Is your story relevant to the listeners you’ll be addressing? Let’s remember that stories that resonate with your audience have the desired effect we’re looking for.
  3. Is your story true?  While the story doesn’t necessarily have to be yours, the truth factor is essential.  With permission, you may wish to consider another person’s story if you believe your audience can relate to hearing it.
  4. Does your story make sense? It’s imperative that your story has a logical progression and is easy to follow.  Consider developing an outline so you can easily see the sequence of events.
  5. Are you passionate about the story?  If you believe you are, you’ll want to relive the story and be sure to include emotions behind the words.
  6. Have you monitored your story delivery?  Delivery includes variables such as volume, rate, intonation, nonverbal language (gestures).  Each of these is critical and therefore when recording, you may want to listen for and watch each one.  Are you animated enough?
  7. Have you practiced telling your story out loud? By practicing out loud, you’ll most likely hear and see aspects of your story that you like and those that need more work. The more you practice, you’ll increase your familiarity with the story and may decide there are parts that you want to change.
  8. Is your message apparent? As you tell your story, you may have several segments.  You may either frame each segment, or for a shorter story, you may decide to tell the meaning (frame) at the conclusion.  The framing of your message should relate to your overarching point.
  9. Have you timed your story? Most of my blog readers know that I place a great deal of emphasis on timing what you say.  A big mistake is to “wing it” and hope that your timing is acceptable.  Not only is this quite risky, but no one can afford this approach and therefore you want to know if you need to extend or shorten your story.  Remember that the majority of adults have very short attention spans.  That’s why you may want to consider having multiple messages to align with the segments of your story.  I would suggest having a couple of versions of your story in the event that you have last minute alterations.
  10. Are you vulnerable? Being vulnerable is instrumental when telling a story.  It helps the speaker come across as authentic and the message is viewed as personal.

Please consider telling a story the next time you have a presentation.  With practice, you’ll come across as a natural and have that golden key.  If you want any assistance, please reach out to me electronically, virtually, or in-person.  I’m accessible by email dale@profitablespeech.com or by phone 518-664-6004.

Can’t wait to hear your story!