Using story in your talks can transform the entire experience for your audience. Here’s why. Stories bring lessons to life. Stories help connect you with the audience in front of you. Stories can show insights into why this idea matters. You can use story to open your talk. You can use story to illustrate your points. You can use story in your close to really bring everything home.
If you are using story and you choose to do that, make sure you tell us a story that’s very specific. It’s one place in time, one moment in time, where everything changed for you. If you want to start off your talk with a story, choose the story that matters to you the most.
This might be your origin story. This might be the story of why you think the way you do, or how you came upon the idea that you’re going to talk about. Story can help the audience come into your world and see things through your lens, see things through your eyes and how you’re thinking about the things that you want to share with them. Story can completely transform the experience if you tell the story in a very clear way.
When you’re using story, we don’t want to go on long journeys and talk about a lot of different details. We kind of want to get to the good stuff pretty quickly. If you choose to use story, go ahead and tell us what was happening. Who was there? What happened? How did you feel about what happened? How were you transformed as a result of what happened? If you just focus on those areas, you can really bring your story to life pretty quickly, especially if you’re giving a short form talk like a TEDx talk. You’re going to want to be in and out of your story relatively quickly because you only have at most 18 minutes to communicate your idea.
Consider playing with your stories and consider using story to really illustrate what you want to share.