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Why stories & speeches go hand-in-hand

The power of telling stories in your presentations and speeches cannot be underestimated. They can be used to draw in your audience and help to make your message memorable long after you have finished speaking.

I spoke with three experts about using stories in speeches and how you can be inspired to do the same in your next presentation.

Victoria C. Leo:

The key is to start with a story. It's been well documented that we humans respond to succinct stories that that have a clear message and connects with us at an emotional level.

If the limbic system is not engaged, the brain turns off. Once you have them hooked, you can have an analytic section, but not too long. Get the limbic system involved at intervals or you lose them. You have to grab people by the heart.

Duncan Noble:

Tell a story or stories that involve yourself, the audience and your key messages (e.g. recommendations, calls to action, etc.). People remember stories much better than they remember facts or analysis. One way to do this is to create three "acts" to your speech.

Act 1

This is the beginning – Story of Self – where you introduce the underlying challenge and why you are passionate about it.

Act 2

This is the middle – Story of Us – where you tap into shared values and why the audience should care.

Act 3

This is the ending – Story of Now – where you present your solution(s) to the underlying challenge and your call to action.

Lisa Marie Platske:

I never really understood the importance of being entertaining. But, there is a reason why people pay thousands of dollars to go to a Lady Gaga concert and only attend low-cost or free business events. They want to be entertained.

The partner to this is that connection matters more than anything. So, if you entertain someone but they're not connected, the value diminishes. It goes back to people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Final words …

Engaging your audience through stories can have a larger impact than you might realise. It can enhance your message, help to get your point across, allow your audience to relate to what you are saying and why you are saying it.

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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