Stories: Secret Sauce for Powerful Speeches

 In Presentation Skills, Public Speaking Tips, Storytelling
Stories are the secret sauce for powerful speeches and presentations.
Stories connect people and make for powerful speeches. because everyone has a story.

Storytelling is the best way to capture hearts and minds and bring people together around shared experiences. So, it’s no wonder that stories are the secret sauce of powerful speeches and presentations.  Storytelling has permanently entered the marketing lexicon. Browse the list of business best sellers and you will see an assortment of titles touting storytelling as one of the most effective ways to connect with customers.

Those who tell the stories rule the world.

Hopi Native American proverb

Stories are the way we navigate the world, starting in early childhood.  It’s how we explain our existence. There’s much research to support this fact. From a 30-second elevator pitch to a full-blown keynote address, it’s the stories these contain that makes them memorable and effective. And, the same goes for powerful speeches and presentations.

According to Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, stories help us remember facts 22 times better than data on a chart or list. Why? Because stories are more easily processed neurologically. Stories help us get to the meat of an idea better than hard numbers.  They trigger memories and emotions.  Stories are more likely to ignite the passion that will get your audience to act.

You might be thinking, I am not a natural storyteller.  I’m not funny, I don’t have any stories to tell.  Guess what—none of that matters.  Stories are everywhere—you just need to pay attention and use some imagination.  Stories can be real or fictional.

Stories feature transformation and have a clear structure.  A beginning, middle and end.  It’s how audiences have been moved since the time of Aristotle. Take Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling who said: “The stories we love best live in us forever.”

You can start your storytelling journey by looking at your own experiences. We’ve all had failures and successes, joy and disappointment, peace and conflict.  If you are human, you have stories with which people can identify.  And if your life has been one big bore, find someone else’s story to tell. But make it the right story—the one that makes your business case and drives your point home with emotion.  Because without emotion you have no story.  Without feeling, it’s just a case study.

Start your own personal story journal or create a story bank from news sources and other people’s accounts.  Use them wisely for the right occasion and you will be on your way to Presentation Bliss.

Watch the companion video to this article.

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