Perhaps children have pleaded with you to tell them a story. It’s not just children who
want to hear stories.
The entertainment industry thrives on telling stories. TV, movies and even sports are
about telling stories. Notice the big dollars that the celebrities and stars make. Why?
Because we crave stories and we reward our story tellers handsomely. Note the success
of Oprah, Steven King and James Cameron.
Story telling has been with us since cave men huddled around a flickering campfire.
Imagine the challenge of presenting to a group of hungry, frightened and shivering cave
dwellers. Story telling entertained, educated and excited people eons ago and it still
enthralls us today.
What does that tell you?
When you tell stories in your presentations you will sell more, persuade more effectively
and enjoy greater results from your presentations. You’ll also feel better about speaking
because story telling is more comforting than giving a speech.
Most of us would rather tell stories than give a speech. Ask someone to choose between
telling a story or giving a speech. Guess what they will pick. While public speaking gets
high rating as a fear, story telling does not. If you are nervous about giving a speech work
a few stories into your presentation.
Stories in a presentation help you get your message across better. You can and should
tell stories in business and sales presentations. One of my clients included stories in his
presentation to close a $10 million deal.
I suggest that you follow this simple formula to make stories work for you.
Three elements to an effective story:
1. Conflict – The conflict grabs our attention. Create the setting. Make it vivid.
2. Resolution – We need closure even if the closure is based on hope.
3. Point – Only tell a story to help clarify a point.
It’s best to tell a personal story because:
1. You lived it so you don’t need to memorize it.
2. It’s your story so no one else is likely to tell it.
3. The audience feels privileged when you share a personal experience.
Rehearse and edit the words in your story to include only the details necessary to make
your point. Your most difficult task is leaving out some of the details. Your audience
doesn’t need all the details to get the point. The story is for the audience not for you.
Like every story teller you are allowed some creative license. It’s best if the story is
100% true. But it is more important that the story be believable. Some true stories are not
believable. Don’t waste your time with those unbelievable tales. Sometimes you might
alter some small detail to make the story easier to tell or better illustrate your point.
If the story is so painful that you can’t tell it without crying – don’t use it – unless you are
speaking at a funeral.
Tell stories to better illustrate your point.
Tell stories to be more memorable.
Tell stories to sell yourself.
The best public speakers are master story tellers. If you want more success when you
present – tell better stories.
You can find the answers to more questions about public speaking at
For free tips and more ideas about business presentations visit the Executive Speech Blog
George Torok is a masterful story teller and exciting presenter. He coaches and trains
professionals and business leaders to deliver million dollar presentations.