Stories are engaging. They have the ability to keep an audience hooked, listening intently to your every word.
We’ve all sat through speeches that have been devoid of this. The delivery of statistics, figures and facts with little context and not storytelling behind them tend to fall on deaf ears.
Introducing stories to your speeches allows you to bring life to what you say. You can explain your necessary facts and figures with storytelling techniques. This will help keep your audience engaged and help them remember the stats long after you’ve finished talking.
We’ve put together a handy guide for how you can introduce stories to your speeches.
Know your audience
More often then not you will know who your audience is before you start talking. You’ll know if they are all from the same company or organisation and what that does. If it’s a mixed group you will know the type of work they do.
Knowing this information will be key when adding stories to your speech. It will let you know the type of stories that will engage your audience and allow you to tailor your stories accordingly.
Research some current topics in your audiences field. Know what are the big issues they’re facing and some recent success stories. Find stories that you can tell and engage with. Not only will they be grateful you have shown interest in their field, they will also be more likely to listen to what you’re saying as it’s relevant to them. You will be speaking their language.
For example, if you’re speaking to a group of aviation experts, research the biggest developments in the field. What new airlines are being introduced? Who is leading the field? When is the next big aviation conference? Find stories of companies who have done well and what they did. Integrate these stories into your speech and watch as your audience listens to every word.
Keep it simple
Long speeches are forgettable. In today’s world peoples attention spans are constantly getting shorter. Keeping an audience’s attention through a speech can be a difficult task. Audiences today can only handle so much information before they start losing focus.
Jon Favreau, director of speechwriting for US President Barack Obama for 8 years, believe simplicity should be a golden rule when writing your speech. He suggests twenty minutes should be the maximum time you should be speaking.
Keeping your speech simple can be difficult. With audiences losing focus and only a short time to convey your message how can you be successful? We believe the answer is storytelling.
Tell a story that highlights your main point. Overloading you stories with unnecessary facts and figures will only lose your audience faster. Narrow your story down to the essential point. Your story will keep your audience engaged. Keeping it simple will also mean your audience will understand your message and remember it afterward.
Bringing your personality and letting your audience see a different side to you can improve your speeches. Sharing a personal story or one that shows emotion will get your audience on side and help build a repour with them.
Why not tell a personal story of your own? This can be work-related or not. Poke fun at yourself or tell a story which might envoke emotion. Your audience will be grateful for it. Your audience will engage with your story and begin thinking about it from their own point of view. Stories have the ability to transport people to places they haven’t been for years.
Stories lets the audience identify with you. You stop being the remote expert and become one of them.