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  • Writer's pictureTom Otstot

Lesson 2 - Story!

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Speaking is about you - the speaker - generously sharing ideas with your audience. Telling stories is the most powerful way to put your ideas out into the world.

In our class recently we discussed the importance of STRUCTURE in crafting your speeches. Yes, we want to include an Introduction, a Body, and a Conclusion. But, more importantly, the idea - the objective - the essence of effective speaking - is to take your audience by the hand and lead them down the path to your point - your "LIGHTHOUSE". Your speech is a journey of discovery for your audience.

Story has the power to take that audience and lead them to an insight, an idea, an inspiration, that may change their life - maybe change the world.

Stories are "sticky" - they stick with us, and when they are anchored to a lesson we want to teach, the lesson sticks as well. We are "hard-wired" for story - it's why we will sit through a bad movie, or finish a mediocre book - because we want to see how it all turns out, how it ends. It's why Aesop's Fables historically have been so effective teaching life lessons to children. We love a good story.

The most effective STORY TELLERS make the best SPEAKERS.

We live in the "Information Age". Knowledge is cheap, widely available, easily accessible. Didn't used to be that way. It is now. So disseminating information from your head to the head of someone else is not special. It's easy to reach their heads. The magic, the VALUE is in reaching their HEARTS. Facts alone do not inspire, but your story - supporting the fact or point you want the audience to know - will make an impact. If they remember your story, they will remember your point.

Stories establish TRUST with your audience, which will help you build a RELATIONSHIP with them.

We learned some story techniques this week in our class which should be helpful to you as you craft your speech for next week's class. Your outline includes "Paint a Picture", "Analogy", "I-Focused Story, You-Focused Message", "Character Development", and "Relive, Don't Just Retell" your story.

In this video below you will see an excellent example of the use of story to make your point. Jim Key is the 2003 World Champion of Public Speaking, this speech is from 2001 when he came in second place. Story - point, story - point. Good "lighthouse". This is a solid example of using story in a speech. There are so many others, especially today. Story has become increasingly more important in all speeches and presentations - in business, in motivation, in education.

Hope this helps you in your speech planning for next week!

If you want to talk, or email, or webchat - I am available and so is Kate, we are here for you and always happy to help you any way we can!

Have a great weekend, stay safe and healthy, see you next week online!

Tom and Kate

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