Using Storytelling In Speechwriting to Hook Your Audience

January 28, 2008

One of the best ways to connect with storytelling book.jpg your audience as a speaker is by storytelling. If your presentation’s purpose is to be informative, you may find this challenging, but any set of facts and figures can be wrapped around a story.

An easy place to start brainstorming to develop a story is to consider why this presentation is important to either you or your audience.

A while ago, a presenter came to me with a rough draft of a speech outlining what you should do after a multiple car crash to minimize legal hassles.
He discussed the exciting process of exchanging insurance cards, phone numbers, Driver’s licenses and the importance of filling out a police report.

When I asked him why he wanted to speak on this topic, he said it was because he wanted to educate others so they could avoid the nightmare experience he went through a couple of years ago.


In rewriting the speech, I had him open by verbally painting a vivid picture of that car accident. He had learned to drive in another country, and this was his first car accident. Therefore, he was unfamiliar with what to do, according to American laws. To compound matters, the other driver was an intimidating, large, angry dude, who we will call Biff.

When he delivered the speech, he immediately hooked his audience by setting a familiar dramatic car crash scene, one to which the audience could relate. And then, instead of outlining the DMV step-by-step rulebook process in bullet point fashion, the speaker continued in storytelling fashion to explain how they exchanged legal papers, and the mistakes he made, such as failing to fill out his own police report to counter Biff’s version of the story.

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