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5 Tips for Storytelling in Public Speaking

Public speaking in an interview

 

Your Main Job as a Public Speaker

When you've got a message to get across, it can be easy to lose track of the story you're really trying to tell. But if you're looking for a solid approach for storytelling in public speaking, check out these five tips below.

As a public speaker, your job is to get people interested in your topic and convince them of your argument. But if you're like most people, you're probably concerned that your speech won't be interesting enough, or that you'll forget what to say. 

This is where storytelling can help. The purpose of a story isn't just to entertain but to make an emotional connection with your audience.

Why Stories Work in Public Speaking

First, something you'll have heard before but which is always worth repeating (and keeping in mind): human beings are hard-wired to pay attention to stories. Stories have existed since the dawn of time, and they continue to shape our perception of the world around us.  

We view stories is changing as more and more people watch TV shows and movies in places other than cinema halls or living rooms. But even in a world where tablets and smartphones have replaced printed books, storytelling remains a human activity. We tell stories to teach, to entertain, to explain, and to persuade.  

Today, stories have become a powerful tool to connect with people and to influence their thinking. Successful storytellers are the ones who can create a sense of empathy with listeners. This includes public speakers – whether on stage, podcasts, YouTube, radio, or the myriad of other speaking opportunities.

How Storytelling Can Build Trust

Many small businesses and tech companies are hesitant to tell stories because they think they'll sound too much like sales pitches. But storytelling is the ‘silent partner’ of effective business communication. It's essential to be a good storyteller to build trust with your customers. 

Indeed, the best way to build trust is to tell compelling stories. As a business owner, you can tell your story to build trust and authority. You need to tell your story in a way that makes sense so customers understand what you're doing and why you're doing it.

Stories Give Meaning to the World Around Us – and to Your Business

Effective storytelling relies on a firm understanding of the drivers of the story. It is important to know why people act as they do and what makes them tick. Storytelling works because it helps us understand the world around us and about ourselves.

Storytelling gives meaning to the world.

This is why storytelling is a great way to communicate your brand's message. Knowing how to tell a story will help you find the right words for your business and get your point across.

How to Tell Better Stories When Public Speaking

The following are some tips on how to tell a good story when public speaking:

1. Use Emotion Over Reason. When telling a story, try not to use logic or reason at the expense of your central message. Instead, focus on emotion and make sure you're using it correctly. 

For example, if you want to talk about an old friend who has recently passed away, then don't say, “He was such a nice guy.” Instead, describe his last moments in life by saying something like this: “He called me one day when he was sick and said he wanted to see me so bad. He told me that he loved me and that we were going to go out and have fun together someday.” This type of emotional language is much more powerful than a rational, dry explanation.

2. Focus On The Present Moment. Don't dwell on the past or worry about the future. If you do, then you'll lose your audience completely. Instead, let your story take place in the present moment and let it speak out for itself!.

3. Make It Personal. Tell stories that show your customers' lives through their eyes rather than just describing things from a corporate perspective or from someone else's point of view. Tell stories about people just like them or maybe a little bit older than them. You can talk about yourself if appropriate because it can add a human element to your brand.

4. Make It Interesting. The best story in the world is boring without proper delivery. So practice the main lines of your presentation until you know it back and forth. You want your audience to be captivated from sentence one, and when you're done, you want them to want more! Why ‘main lines'? Because you always should leave some room for improvisations and ad hoc to enable yourself to react to ‘the room' and bring your talk alive. 

5. Be True To Yourself. One of the most important tips is to be yourself. Don't try too hard to be funny or something that you're not because people can see right through it. Be natural and use your everyday speech patterns, and you'll do just fine.

Recap

Mastering the art of storytelling is an important skill that can help you succeed in any career. Whether you're trying to convince your boss to give you a raise or trying to pitch a potential client, telling a good story can really help you get what you want.

The tips above can help you become a better storyteller when speaking in public. Just remember…keep your stories personal, use emotion over logic, tell them in the present moment, make them about people, and most importantly…be yourself!

As a public speaker, you know that storytelling is one of the most important skills you can develop. But storytelling isn't just good for your speaking repertoire. It's also an essential tool that helps you connect with audiences and persuade them to trust your message in other communication forms.

Happy storytelling!

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