Last time, I left off talking about the importance of pausing during your speech.
Now let’s examine Using motivational stories to enhance your talks.
“If you don’t want to preach, put stories in your speech.” – Andy Harrington
When a speaker loses an audience, too often it is a mystery to them.
But for the audience, it is not a mystery. The simple fact is that many speeches we listen to spend a lot of time in some theory or idea. As humans have trouble focusing on an abstract idea for very long before losing interest. This is one of many reasons one of the central rules of public speaking is to use lots of stories and illustrations to make sure you hold the audience’s attention.
Some speakers look down on the need of audiences to connect to the speaker via concrete illustrations and motivational stories.
But this is a basic form of human communication. In fact, some of the most brilliant speakers in the world have acknowledged that if a speaker cannot express his ideas in concrete illustrations or pass insight through motivational stories, then that speaker does not have a grasp on those ideas yet.
The use of motivational stories and/or humor should get started as soon as the speech begins.
One of the problems that public speakers encounter has to do with the speed of processing.
Science has shown us that the human mind can think at least 10 times faster than it can hear. That means that for 90% of the time you are talking to a group, their minds have time on their hands. If you give them a concrete story to work with, the details of that story give that excess brain power something to do.
By opening with a motivational story, you capture the minds of your audience quickly.
The best kind of opening story is a motivational one particularly if it is an anecdote from your past. This method not only is a wonderful way to get your talk off with a great story, but it also connects them to you and opens up the speaker to the audience which causes bonding.
When selecting the perfect opening story, use two criteria to select just the right illustration.
First, select a story that links to the problem to be solved by the presentation. If the problem is an abstract tone such as spiritual hunger or political theory, that can be tricky. But try to get close with the illustration, at least close enough that you can have a transition ready to take the audience from the story to the concept you wish to discuss first.
Secondly, connect your opening story and every illustration in your talk to your theme.
In this way, every step of the way, the illustrations reach out to the audience, rescue them from drifting and gently bring them back to the talk and what you want them to be thinking about at this part of your presentation.
You can tell if your audience is drifting.
Any public speaker has looked out and seen the audience begin to lose interest in what is being said. The eyes begin to look away from the speaker. Often, they will take an interest in something in their lap or on their person. You might see them writing but it probably not notes from your talk. Or their heads bob or you just see them go to sleep entirely. When you see that happen, your presentation has spent too much time on theoretical ideas and you need to go back and think through a different mix of ideas and illustrations
“If you want to connect, you must let them reflect.” – Darren Lacroix
A good motivational story will at least will keep the audience involved in the discussion.
But a great illustration will actually become part of the presentation so you can tell the story and then proceed to use elements of the story as part of your next points in your conceptual talk. When that works well, you will stop losing the audience because the concrete story serves to anchor the rest of the presentation perfectly.
Learn the art of telling a motivational story.
Any long-time storyteller will teach us that the heart of a good story in detail. But in a public speaking setting, a story should be brief but easy to understand. If it has humor, that’s the best story of them all but above all, it should have personality. And it should help to compel the audience to connect to the talk and understand the ideas you want them to grasp. And if that happens and you have a stronger talk as a result, you will be glad you followed the advice of experts in public speaking to illustrate, illustrate, illustrate.
Here’s a book I highly recommend to help you it’s Called Transformational Speaking and You will learn how to tell Better Stories in Your Speeches. It’s Available in several bookstores and for immediate download on Amazon.com.
Now you have learned the importance of telling motivational stories in your speeches. Did this post help you? Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks?
Make sure you look for my next post soon – Solving problems will help make your talks more interesting, and profitable.
Keep the Shiny Side Up,