Stories serve many purposes in speeches. They can help you connect with audiences to form a connection that allows you to teach valuable lessons or explain difficult concepts. But how do you know when your story is ready for delivery. It is a process. Surely you have heard it said, the secret to public speaking is “to make a point to tell a story.” Great speeches begin with excellent writing and meticulous editing. Weaving stories through your presentations help audiences recall facts and essential information that can be quickly forgotten.
Every speech must have a purpose. Your purpose can be specific or general. Whether your goal is to inform, persuade, entertain or inspire, your audience wants to know the objective of your talk within the first minute of your speech. As you plan your presentation, you must be clear about what you want your audience to think, feel or do after you have finished speaking. Your opening statement should reference the topic of your presentation. The body should provide information to support your opening statement. Your closing should include what you told your audience. After delivering your speech, if someone were to asked what your speech about, they should be able to summarize the purpose in one sentence.
When you tell your story, speak from your perspective. Use dialogue to make your presentation conversational. The more audiences can relate to your characters, the more authentic they become. Every story has an issue to be resolved. If there is conflict, state it early in your presentation. The problem is usually between two opposing forces. Add fuel to their fire. Get them all lit up. State the challenge then; there must be a light at the end of the tunnel. Resolve the tension and conflict without leaving any unanswered questions. Editing will help you achieve that goal. If you did not write it initially it could not be edited.
Practice and delivery is the next step in the process of presenting your story. Body language is your biggest ally in this part of the process. Practice moving your hands, your body, making eye contact and changing your facial expressions as you would, when speaking to friends and family. When you are presenting to your audience, start your eye contact with the audience members at the back of the room and gradually keep your eyes moving forward while speaking “one to many.” Every move you make should be with a purpose. When you are making a crucial point, stand and deliver. Body language often speaks louder words. Your body language should be smooth and natural. The final step in the process is to move your speech from your head, and into your heart. Once that is accomplished, your story is ready for delivery.