We know that people are more likely to remember a story than they are likely to remember information. So, we need to put information in stories. This is important if you are writing a presentation or a speech.
The classic structure of a speech is for a writer to state a problem and offer a solution. We succeed if we include stories of a person with a problem who finds the solution.
But, we need to be careful that we tell our stories well.
What are the five most common problems when we tell stories?
1. Too Much Backstory
This is true in all kinds of writing. Don’t waste your audiences time with how you got there. Start with the person who is in the crisis when they are in the crisis. You can add one or two sentences of backstory after that.
Example: Jim could not believe he was being fired. (crisis) After all, he had been working at XYZ Inc. for 10 years and he loved his job. (backstory)
2. Telling. Not Showing.
Yes, you are telling the story, but you need to make it come alive. Use the senses. Uses feelings. Use action. And read: 5 Incredibly Simple Ways To Help Writers Show And Not Tell
3. Not Enough Dialogue.
When you’re telling the story, don’t tell us what the person said. Let them speak for themselves. If you’re telling a story, don’t tell us ‘He always said that people should just get on with it.’ Rather say ‘He always said: Just do it!’
Stick to the incident that contains the information you want to get across. We don’t need to know about the story person’s personal life, habits, or goals unless they impact the story. So, stick to the plot, in storytelling terminology.
5. Taking Too Long.
The ideal time for a speech is 5-10 minutes. If you are going to include a story in the speech, make sure you tell it succinctly. Include a beginning, middle, and end for your story.
If you need to write speeches, you should attend this course: Can I Change Your Mind?