Motivational Speakers – Use Stories With Punch

How to Tell a Story – the Right Way

Whether it’s a motivational speech or a sales presentation, stories are vital. Writing a good story is not the same as telling a good story.

Make Sure It Relates To YOUR Audience

A story about the trials of having a two-year-old is the wrong story for a group of college students. Find a story with an experience that your listener shares.

Understand That Attention Spans Are Short

And getting shorter. Keep your story from plodding along at the same pace and pitch. Vary serious with funny, dialogue with thought, high energy with no movement, etc.

Believe In the Story You Are Telling

If the story doesn’t mean anything to you personally, don’t tell it. It won’t be genuine and your audience will know it.

Don’t Just Tell It, SELL IT

Comedians are taught to sell their jokes – to assume that the joke is funny and the audience will like it. Bring emotion into it. Force them to listen.

Stay In the Moment

You can’t be thinking about lunch or how much that lady on the third row looks like your Great Aunt Ethel with the glass eye. Focus. When you check out, so does your audience.

Be Sure You’ve Learned It

It’s pathetic to forget how the story goes. Don’t settle on good enough – know that story inside and out. It is easier to learn the story if you break it into chunks.

Talk Like You Speak To a Friend

Speak comfortably, slowly, and simply. If you’re uncomfortable, so are they.

It’s Okay To Break From Your Script If You’re Comfortable With Your Script

Practice your story in pieces – even out of order – so that you are familiar with breaking in different places and finding your way back.

What You Say Isn’t Always What They Hear

Your words are less than 15% of what they “hear” – the rest they are getting from your body language. Whether you like it or not, your body is speaking for you. Pay attention to what your body is saying.


Like most everything in life, timing is everything. In storytelling, it applies to the manner in which you handle the pauses and breaks in your story – those moments that allow the audience to breathe, to think about what you just said, to laugh, etc. Relax and relish the mystical power found in the silent moments of your story where things happen that you never planned. Part of good timing is knowing when to quit. Don’t stay in that story one minute too long or you lose all the power.


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