In an article some months ago, I talked about the value of storytelling in public speaking and why a descriptive retelling of a story is much more interesting than a brief quip. Audiences love true stories especially if they involve you and have a good ending. They must be pertinent to your topic, however.
If you are not comfortable regaling your listeners with anecdotes or sharing your own stories, you must change your attitude. True stories lend credibity to you, the speaker. They demonstrate your knowledge and experience in the message you are sharing. If you are new to public speaking, without a known reputation, establishing credibility can make all the difference between success and failure in your endeavors.
The story need not even be about your topic, as long the lesson learned from the experience can be applied to your message. For the purposes of the article I wrote back in the fall, the story was a figment of my imagination; I would never use that material in any of my presentations. However, had the story been true, I could have used it in a presentation were I a motivational speaker, for example.
In a nutshell, I describe a harrowing experience about getting lost in the woods in Maine. The outcome is that, by choosing the right path, I was able to successfully return to my camp. The message in that particular story deals with choosing the right path – certainly, a lesson that could well fit into a motivational speech or one about success.
One of the secrets of good storytelling, however, is to tell it to your audience just as if you were sharing it with your friends, speaking with emotion, with passion, and with excitement.
If you question your ability in that respect, practice it out loud by means of your camcorder. Play it back and study what you see and hear. Are you expressive? Does your voice depict what you are describing? What about your facial expression and body language? Did these two aspects of your delivery also help tell the story?
One of the best actors for facial expression and body language is Harrison Ford. You know every thought, every feeling, every emotion he is experiencing just by watching his face and his body. They often tell more about his character than his voice.
Don’t be afraid to allow your emotions and your expression to be seen and heard. It can make all the difference between a less than exciting delivery and one that truly has pizzazz!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels provides private, group and corporate training throughout the United States and Canada as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement and presentation skills. Visit Voice Dynamic and voice your opinion in her new blog.