For many of us who have spent years in business, our anecdotes are many and varied. There is no doubt that experience is not only the best teacher, but affords us many stories and anecdotes throughout our business careers. What does the novice speaker do, however, when his/her experience is minimal?
Anecdotes are brief, true stories which usually deal with the speaker and/or his clients and customers; however, there is nothing in the book that says that the anecdotes you use must be your material. You can use anecdotes that you find on the internet, for example, when searching for information on your topic. As long as you qualify the anecdote, in which you give credit to the individual to whom it is about, you are free to use it.
1. Read articles and books on your topic.
2. Research YouTube for videos of other speakers.
3. Network your business.
Those who write about your subject are good fodder not just for anecdotes but also to see what you competition is writing. You shouldn’t copy them, but by all means, learn from them.
There are hundreds of video clips of speakers – from the famous to the not-so-famous – on YouTube. Listen to them; study them; and, get ideas from them. In addition, by using others’ material, it shows that you have done your homework and your audience will be impressed by your obvious knowledge of others in your field.
Networking your business will afford you more anecdotes than you may think. Just the process of conversing with others about your topic will offer you leads, potential introductions, and also stories which could be pertinent to your presentation.
A good example is a woman whom I met at a business conference. She was in the booth next to mine. After 1-hour of talking to perspective clients, she had no voice left. Unfortunately, the conference lasted for 7 more hours. I have used that anecdote in both my article writings and in my oral presentations when I discuss vocal abuse. The woman is not a client of mine and probably will never be. What is unfortunate for her is that her lack of voice means lack of business; however, she would rather suffer from voice loss than work on improving her vocal techniques.
Just because you are new to your business does not mean that you are limited in the stories or anecdotes you can tell. Remember, however, to always give credit to the writers or the speakers when you use their words, their examples and/or their experiences.