How to Tell a Story in a Speech

Often, people perceive presenting a speech as a difficult task.

However, if you know the information that you want to give and know how to present it as a story, your speech can go much more smoothly.

Recounting a story in your speech is one of the effective ways of making the information stick.

So, what is a story? Why use a story? And how can you use it effectively in your speech to drive the idea home to your audience? Read on to find out.

What is a Story?

A story is a description of real or imaginary events and people in order to entertain. A story is a means of transferring a message, a point of view in a way that the listener learns or experiences something.

Why Use a Story?

A good story in your speech, can help to get your audience’s attention and keep it.

A good story can add interest, intrigue and mental visuals to an otherwise dry or abstract speech topic. A good story is one that relates to your audiences’ experiences, values, or thought processes.

Your audience is more likely to remember your speech if they can relate to it at a more personal level. A good story will also be relevant your speech message, and this will help cement your message in your audience’s minds.

Take your audience on a journey and appeal to their emotions.

How to tell a Story?

Before you include a story in your speech, you must know how to structure and incorporate the story in your presentation.

  1. Simple Story Structure

A simple story structure uses a three part structure.

a. Problem,

b. Struggle,

c. Resolution.

There are more complex story structure available, but for the purpose of a speech, it is normally best to keep it simple for both you as the speaker and your audience. The Problem is the situation or conflict that needs to be dealt with. In the Struggle are the challenges on the journey to solve the problem. Finally the Resolution is what happens at the end.

  1. Use Relatable Characters

Your story should always contain characters that relate to your speech and audience. It doesn’t have to be you. You can use someone else’s name or character that is relatable for the audience. Place someone in the story that your audience can connect to as the story progresses. Remember, the one of the main objectives of sharing the story is for your audience to remember it. And the best way to do that is to give them a stake in the story too. After all, why tell a story if your audience doesn’t understand or relate to it?

  1. Shape of a Story

In one of the best videos online on this topic “Shape of a Story”, Kurt Vonnegut describes how a story can be ‘shaped’ on a Y-axis of Good Fortune & Ill Fortune extended along the X-axis of Time. The shape of the story is then created by where the character begins, what the overcome and where they end.

  1. There Must Be a Relevant Point

Giving your audience an account of what transpired in a particular situation is helpful. However, it may not be relevant to this audience. Ensure, therefore, that your story always drives a point home that is relevant to your audience. Otherwise, they may lose interest in your speech.

  1. Satisfying Resolution

A story in a speech needs to end with a resolution. Provide your audience a way out of a problem or situation as a way of concluding your story. This can be anything from a piece of advice to words of wisdom that help them in the long run.

Bottom Line

Top speakers know how to tell a story and always ensure that their stories relate to their audience. After all, what is a story if the listeners cannot relate to it or understand it?

Remember, storytelling in a speech increases your audience’s attention, makes your speech easier to understand and digest, and sometimes even bring them on an emotional journey that they will not forget.