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Storytelling Ideas for Public Speaking


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Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. - Collosians 4:6

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Have you ever read a fiction book, and ended up with more ideas, knowledge, understanding and know-how on a topic than you would have gleaned from a dictionary entry?  It's true that stories are amazing vehicles of communication, so let's have a look at some storytelling ideas for incorporating narratives into your public speaking.
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Storytelling Ideas:  The Power of "Once upon a time"...

Stories are powerful for a couple of reasons:

1) They create mental pictures and for public speaking, pictures are always good.  As anyone in the advertisement industry will tell you, pictures are usually easy to understand and not only help your listeners to follow your train of thought, but also help them to remember/recall detail better.

2) Stories bring familiarity and help you to relate to specific characters and situations. This is because stories can be very powerful in invoking emotions and it's the emotions that tie you to the character or event. This not only helps you to feel what that person felt, but also to understand why the character did what it did.

Stories can move you to tears, laughter or indignation. Something you as a speaker might want to provoke these emotions for specific purposes and stories can help you do that.

3) Stories also creates context for the idea or point you are trying to bring across.  So in other words, it helps people to bring the abstract into their physical world.  And in their world, even if it is in the mind, they can make sense of it, for their world is familiar to them.  Thereby it becomes easier for them to accept something new in the midst of the familiar.

4)  And finally, who doesn't love a great story?  They have so much potential and power and most people naturally sit up straight once you start telling a story.  And with all the visual, auditive and emotional stimuli that a great and relevant story will bring about, itÂ’s should be no wonder that your audience will end up remembering exactly what you want them to.

Since Ancient times, the best of teachers have employed parables and stories to bring their points across, and the fact that we still use and remember these testifies to the fact that stories are great communication tools.  Don't be afraid to use them in your speeches.
I've seen speeches where the presenter introduced his topic and then proceeded to tell stories that revolve around the topic for the rest of his speech (30+ minutes)! 

Yet at the end, I was left with a keen understanding of his main point, without him having expounded it intellectually, quoted facts about it or giving me 5-10 reasons why it's important.

This is the power that a good and relevant story has.  This does not mean that you can stop preparing and writing informative and intellectually stimulating speeches and just start telling stories to your audience, but it does mean that you should not neglect incorporating narratives into your speeches.
Storytelling Ideas
Like your slides, your jokes and your hand gestures, stories are there to compliment your ideas and further their communication to the audience.
Stories are often better at bringing across meaning, or driving home a specific point, than just citing facts and data about it.  So great speakers have learned to utilize stories, often times at the beginning or end of their speeches, for these very purposes.