Knowing how to craft a story is one of the most basic, and most often used, skills for any public speaker. Here at Speechstorming we deal with storytelling in great depth in our workshops and along the way we’ve seen the following appear time and time again!
Here’s a text version of the infographic:
Storytelling is older than TV, cinema, books, newspapers, writing, alphabets and hieroglyphics. It is an essential part of every culture ever known to man. Stories as a means of informing, warning, explaining, entertaining and teaching are as much an integral part of being human as our DNA.
Is it an addiction?
People are, quite simply, addicted to stories be they factual or fictional, prose or poetry, written or spoken, texts or pictures, funny or sad, uplifting or depressing and the list goes on and one and on. We’re addicted to them because we use them to make sense of our world, a daunting task indeed!
What’s it about?
Eternal themes appear over and over in our stories; love, hate, anger, jealousy, unselfishness, betrayal, sacrifice, loss etc. etc. and we recognise each and every one of them through repeated exposure to the stories of our family, area, culture, country and history.
What do they involve?
Early on in our lives we are completely immersed in stories as we discovery fairy tales, nursery rhymes, folk stories and stories invented by the adults around us. We develop a deep sense of the structure, rhythm, timing, music and hidden messages which make up a story.
Read it again!
Choosing to revisit our favourite stories – in books, TV series, films etc. – brings a sense of comfort with the familiar but also the chance to see something we may have missed previously. The best stories remain constant while morphing into new messages each they’re read or experienced.
Be a storyteller!
Honing your skills as a storyteller, for stories can enliven and enrich even the driest material for a speech, is one of the most important skills you need to master as a public speaker. Audiences love to hear personal stories about you, people you know, famous people or historical figures. If you don’t feel ready to share your own story, then share someone else’s.
Did the pharaohs have them?
Stories are like pyramids, the only work when they build up to a point. Sounds obvious but think about the amount of times you’ve heard a friend tell a story or you’ve invested time in a book, TV series or film and in the end it all seemed to come to nothing. Don’t disappoint your audience with a story that goes nowhere!
Is this private?
There is a difference between private vs personal and it’s one that many people attending our Speechstorming workshops struggle with. You can tell personal stories and anecdotes about yourself without having to discuss your private business. Don’t feel you have to include messy divorce details to make a speech “genuine” (we’ve seen it happen!). Talking about your personal experiences does not mean having to compromise your privacy.
Organise your story as you would your speech; decide on the central message, work on the catchy beginning, structure the main body so it’s logical and clear and build up to that all important point!!! A disorganised story that’s impossible to follow will not hold any value for your audience.
Do your research!
Research stories for your speeches. There are many, many websites devoted to storytelling (and some wonderful TED talks) not to mention the obvious sources of books, newspapers, TV, film, fables, nursery rhymes, overheard conversations, advertising and the all-important, ever present, gossip!
Make it valuable!
Making the most of storytelling in a speech means interweaving the story, or stories, through the speech so that they add enormous value, increase the audience interest and substantially raise the level of your public speaking.
Stories are what?
Intriguing, inventive, illuminating, idyllic, illicit, illustrative, imaginary, immodest, imaginative, illogical, important, insane, incisive, irrepressible (we could go on!). Stories are all these things and much, much more.
Notetaking is an important skill for any public speaker, who is after all also a writer of speeches. You have no idea where and when inspiration will strike- or who you’ll manage to overhear as you go about your day – and believing yourself capable of memorising everything is a sure fire way of losing out on these nuggets of gold. Buy a notebook and take notes!
Who uses them?
Governments use them, corporations use them, religions use them, teachers use them, advertisers use them. Novelists, journalists, playwrights and screenwriters use them. Friends, colleagues, children, family members use them. Make sure you use stories too!!
Storytelling is a craft that can be learnt. For more on the subject of storytelling and the world of public speaking check out our course on public speaking
Download this infographic.
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