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Body of a Speech: Make a Point – Tell a Story

Updated: Feb 29


Story

Make a Point – Tell a Story:  Example:


The Body of the Speech is where you deliver your message. This is information you want the audience to take away. The simple formula for this is:

Make a Point – Tell a Story.


There should be three to five points, supported by a story or two reinforcing each point.

Ideally, these should be Personal Stories. No one else, unless you’ve given permission, can tell your story!


Too often, speakers use stories not their own, and the audience has heard before: Abraham Lincoln’s honesty, Thomas Edison’s persistence, and others come to mind. I once attended an event where two speakers, back-to-back, told the same story! That is terrible!


One of the keys to accumulating your own stories is to be, as they say in Yoga, “Always present and in the moment.” When those stories occur in real time, capture them, and put them into the hard drive of your brain so you can retrieve them when needed to reinforce a point of your message.


Here’s a Point / Story Example

Point: One of the reasons people have a Fear of Public Speaking is they don’t think they have anything to speak about others will find interesting. Their internal talk is similar to: “I have nothing to talk about. What could I ever speak about that anyone would have any interest in hearing?”


My response is, “Nonsense!

Everyone has something of value to talk about that audiences will find interesting and benefit from.”


Story: Let me tell you a story:


As an Instructor for Continuing Education, I had a special class assignment for my Public Speaking Course. It consisted of inner city church ladies who had a desire to improve their presentation skills.


The format was this: I spoke the first night and gave them the Components, Parts, and Elements of a Presentation. They came back a week later and delivered their presentations. The speeches were to be about five minutes and could be on any topic they chose.


The class was a delight to teach. They fully bought into my mantra, “Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities!”

Presentation day arrived and I was blown away! They had worked hard on their presentations and the speeches were outstanding! There were several personal stories about overcoming adversity and others about hobbies and family.

One lady waited till everyone else had spoken. I motioned to her that she was next.  The woman rose from her seat and started walking to the front of the room. Before reaching the spot people had been speaking from she stopped, turned around, and said, “I don’t have anything to talk about.” Then she started walking back to her seat.

I stopped her in her tracks when I exclaimed, “Wait a minute! Don’t sit down!”

I then asked, “Didn’t I hear you telling your classmates you speak to your children every day?”


“I do,” she replied.


“What do you tell them?” I queried.


“I tell them to keep away from gangs, don’t do drugs, work hard, and be honest,” she responded.


“That’s good stuff!” I said. Her classmates nodded their heads in agreement.


I asked, “How many children do you have?”


“Six.” was the one word answer.


“Wow!” I exclaimed. Looking around the classroom, I could see everyone shared my surprise.

I wanted to know more, so I asked, “What are those kids doing today?”


The lady paused for a moment to think about her answer. Then she started to speak, saying. “Four are in college, and. . .”


“STOP!” I exclaimed while raising my hand with my palm facing her. “You have four children in college?”  I asked.


“Yes, I do.” was the answer.


I responded, “That’s amazing! 

I’ve got a feeling there are youngsters in your neighborhood who don’t go to high school!

You have four children in college and told the class you don’t have anything to talk about! We’ve got to hear how you did that!”


All the facial expressions and body language in class showed agreement with my statements. The problem the lady had was she was ‘too close to herself.’ She literally ‘didn’t know what she knew.”

Isn’t that a great story? It’s incredible, true, and it happens all the time!


Recap: 

The Point was: One Fear of Public Speaking is thinking we have nothing to talk about the audience will find interesting.


The Story of the lady with four children in college debunks that fear. It’s a true story I experienced. I love it!


What points do you want to make and what personal stories reinforce them?

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Pausing is a key component of presenting.

About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and“NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”


Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, andPresentation Skills.


They do this because they know:"Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities."


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