What if you could 10X the power of your personal brand just by using storytelling in public speaking?
Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn showed the power of stories in 2009. They bought a range of cheap trinkets including a globe paperweight, egg whisk, and meat thermometer and then commissioned some talented writers to craft original stories for each item instead of the usual factual descriptions on eBay. A random $2 motel room key was accompanied by the story of a wife who suspected her husband of cheating. The key eventually sold for $45. Rob and Joshua turned the items which they spent a total of $129 on into $3,612.51! A 2,700% return on investment. All because of the captivating power of story.
Storytelling in public speaking works on many levels. Neuroscientific research has shown that messages relayed through stories are 22 times more likely to be remembered than facts alone, and 80% of UK adults surveyed said that they wanted brands to use stories as part of their advertising.
Storytelling is the easiest and most effective form of communication.
As a speaker, stories are easier to remember and deliver than fact-based presentations. For your audience, stories are engaging, memorable and fun to hear.
It’s why we teach children not to lie by telling them about ‘The boy who cried wolf’; why Jesus taught through parables like The Good Samaritan; and why the best adverts are the ones with engaging narratives like Apple’s groundbreaking 1984 advert or the brilliant Guinness surfer advert.
And it is no different when it comes to your personal brand. Just like a Marvel superhero, every Youpreneur needs a strong origin story.
Here are the 5 steps you need to follow to master storytelling in public speaking:
STEP 1 – Understand Story
Understand what makes a great story.
Classic stories from Oliver Twist to Thelma and Louise to The Lion King use this very simple structure:
Hero faces a big challenge with potentially catastrophic consequences often involving a powerful villain (the problem). Hero digs deep to somehow overcome the challenge (the battle) and in the process becomes a new person (the resolution), which teaches us a valuable lesson (moral of the story).
Think about this structure during the next film or book you read and you’ll see it at work.
STEP 2 – Create Your Origin Story
Create your own origin story using the classic story structure.
Have you faced a big challenge that led you into the work you do now? How did you overcome it? How did that change you? What did you learn as a result?
For instance, my origin story as a public speaking coach is that in my early career as a lawyer I struggled to be effective when making speeches in court because I used the very formal style of public speaking I was taught at Law School. This really threatened to stall my legal career (problem). Then one day I came up against a senior barrister, who used a totally different more conversational speaking style, which the judges loved (battle). Although he won the case, it taught me a different approach to public speaking, which I have since used to become a better barrister and to build create a successful public speaking business (resolution). It taught me that to be an effective communicator, you must connect with your audience (moral of the story).
Can you frame your life into an origin story for your personal brand?
Make it dramatic by emphasising the consequences you could have faced if the problem was not resolved?
Bring the story to life with subtle factual details like the grey chalk stripe suit my opponent barrister was wearing.
Create a story that makes an emotional connection with your audience.
STEP 3 – Create Customer Stories
You can use the same storytelling in public speaking approach to show how you help your customers and clients.
What problems were your customers facing? What catastrophe would have resulted if the problem persisted? How did you step in to guide them? What did you show them? What new future did you help your customer create?
Again, make the story detailed and dramatic.
STEP 4 – Practice!
If you want to know the secret to great public speaking, you’ll discover it after the third time you practise your speech. Things will mysteriously start to click and fall into place. All the great speakers from Winston Churchill to Steve Jobs understood that the single most effective method of improving your presentation skills is to practise, practise, practise…and then practise some more.
The more you practise your storytelling in public speaking, the more familiar you’ll become with it and the better your delivery will be.
Space out your practice. Do a first-run in the morning, a second run in the evening, and then more practice sessions on the following days. This way you embed the speech deep into your memory so that you can draw on it whenever you need it.
As you get more confident, your delivery will become richer and your audience will be even more engaged.
It’s a good idea to record your practice on both video and audio so you can watch it back to check your body language and gestures and listen to it to hear your vocal delivery.As a Youpreneur, your business is intimately bound up with your personal brand. Storytelling in public speaking can make that personal brand 10 times more powerful. Use it wisely! #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
STEP 5 – Review and Refine
Gauge the impact of your storytelling in public speaking on your audience. Does it hit home? Does it resonate? Were there any parts that didn’t connect? Did they get the moral?
The more you can refine your content and delivery, the better your story speech will become.
Pretty soon, your audiences will love your stories and then they’ll love you.
As a Youpreneur your business is intimately bound up with your personal brand. Storytelling in public speaking can make that personal brand 10 times more powerful.
Use it wisely!
Kolarele Sonaike is a public speaking coach, delivering presentation skills training for executives and entrepreneurs to transform their impact in communication. He is the founder of The Great Speech Consultancy and author of ‘How to Give a Great Speech’. He runs the popular ‘Nail My Speech’ online public speaking course.