We all know someone who is a naturally gifted storyteller.
Chances are, that person has an aura of energy about them that people just seem to gravitate towards.
It’s no secret. Humans are innately drawn towards stories and in turn, drawn towards people who are great at telling them.
Our fascination with stories is ingrained in our DNA.
From early childhood, it can be witnessed through a child’s desire to be told their favorite bedtime story for the hundredth time. And it continues throughout the rest of our lives by way of books, movies, video games, etc.
Understanding this ingrained fascination can help you, as a speaker, improve the power of your presentations so you too can have that magnetic energy that gifted storytellers possess.
We’re going to cover why and how stories can make your speeches far more powerful.
Stories Help Your Audience Remember Your Speech
Every speech has a core message or idea. To support that core idea, we of course need to back it up with facts and statistics.
While you can present facts and figures right out of the box, doing so will likely lead to your audience forgetting them literally minutes after you’ve told them. Studies have actually shown this to be the case. Sad but true.
However, by incorporating storytelling around your statistics, you can help your audience better recall. Studies have proven that stories are far more effective at helping people recall than other ways of communicating information.
Stories Build A Deeper Connection With Your Audience
A great story can invoke powerful emotions from your audience. It can make them laugh, make them cry, and everything in between. If you’re able to guide their emotions, you will undoubtedly build a deeper bond and connection with those you’re speaking to.
Just like any great movie or book, a story can pull people in and have them engaged and invested. If they’re invested in what you’re saying, they will be invested in you and your overall message.
By sharing your stories, your audience will also be able to relate to you. They will view you less as a speaker on stage and more as a person they’re having a conversation with – regardless of the fact that conversation may be with hundreds of other people.
Basics Of A Powerful Story
Telling a gripping story is easier said than done. However, there are structures, frameworks, and best practices you can follow to ensure your stories carry maximum impact.
- A beginning – an introduction to an idea or situation that will captivate your audience from the start.
- A middle – raise the stakes to the initial idea or situation that was introduced.
- An end – provide a resolution, whether good or bad, to the idea or situation.
Unfortunately, reciting Goldie Locks And The Three Bears on stage won’t cut it.
The most engaging stories are ones that mine from personal experience. Think about the most important experiences in your life and play around with the idea of crafting them into narratives. This will help your audience better relate to you compared to if you were to strictly tell other people’s stories.
We all want to tell happy stories, so we tend to shy from negativity and conflict. However, the best stories have the main character overcoming incredibly difficult obstacles and impossible odds.
Why is that? Because it simply makes for a better story.
When crafting your stories, don’t steer from conflict. Embracing hardships and difficulties can make the resolution that much more satisfying and your overall story more engaging.
Don’t just tell people what’s happening, describe what’s happening. Regardless of how unimportant some details may seem, try to give even the smallest details if it helps make for a better story in the end.
Providing detail will help your audience get out of simply listening to your story, and actually living in your story. Use words that allow the audience to feel, smell, hear, or see what’s happening.
When deciding on what your next speech will cover, perhaps think about what story you’d like to tell instead. Let your experiences and stories be the driver of your next speaking engagement. Stories can inspire new ideas and concepts you may have not previously thought of otherwise.