Storytelling is one the best tools a public speaker could use to relate to the audience. Through storytelling, the audience will be able to identify themselves as they also have the same experience or at least witnessed the said event in real life. When a story is well told, the audience will be easily captivated and the point of the speaker would be easily understood.
Storytelling can be used by a public speaker in almost any occasion. A talk in front of the kids could be possible with the right stories and using stories to persuade CEOs and business managers is still a proven technique.
But telling a story doesn’t automatically make you a great public speaker. Like many tools that you can use in public speeches, a story well told could help you improve as a speaker while a badly told story could single-handedly destroy your speech.
Telling Your Story
The best source of stories that you can tell to your audience is your personal experience. This will help you get closer to your audience since your personal experience will tell the audience that you are also going through the same challenges in life. Since this is your experience, you could be as detailed as possible because your personal knowledge of the story is next to no one. You could even be more enthusiastic in telling the story since you can practically recreate the whole experience in front of your audience.
Other Sources of Stories
On the other hand, finding a story from books, the internet or simply from the experience from other people is not bad. Their stories should also contain lessons or experience which will help the audience understand certain points in the topic. If it’s the first time you will be telling the story in public, make sure that you make small notes about the turnout of events. This will help you retell the story accurately or prevent you from forgetting the story altogether. You don’t have to write the whole story and read it because it will be boring.
Familiarity with the Story
Before retelling a story apart from your personal experience, be sure that you are telling an accurate story. Even though you don’t use real names in your story, inaccurate stories could backfire when you’re asked with follow up questions regarding the story. Tell the true story if you have taken them from actual events.
Of course, accuracy of the story is not applicable when you’re just making up a story. When you’re making a story or retelling a fiction, make sure you are retelling the story the way it should be retold.
Know the story like the back of your hand. A personal story or fiction should be told with accuracy to your audience to reinforce your point.
Theme Based Stories
Never tell a story just because you wanted to tell your audience a joke or share something personal. You should tell your stories that have a theme related to your speech. As already indicated, the stories you tell are tools to help you present a great speech. Make sure that your stories will help clarify or support your theme.
This is often challenging for many public speakers since they have to look for additional stories. Some are tempted to “justify” their stories by explaining why it should relate to the main theme. Avoid this temptation since explaining the relation of the story to the main theme could be confusing. Look for stories wherein its central theme is related to your topic. You don’t need to have further explanation because the stories itself will help the audience understand the topic.
Emotions in your stories should never be limited on the story’s turnout of events. Your emotions while telling the story should coincide with the actual feelings of the characters or your perception of the events. Your hand movements, your facial expression and even the way your body moves should coincide with the general emotion of the story. Your audience will have a clearer picture when your body and voice conveys emotions while telling a story. This is an extra effort but if you want to deliver a great speech, be accurate and use emotions while telling a story.