Here are 10 ideas on how you can develop more interesting stories for including in your public speaking or other oral communication occasions. These will help you whether speaking one on one, in meetings, ingroups or more formal events.
1. Listen to a speaker, such as a teacher, minister, social worker, politician, or any other speaker whose purpose is to persuade an audience for some purpose. As you listen, take notes on the illustrations the speaker uses. Were they interesting? The kind that really stimulated the audience mentally and/or emotionally? If so, why? If not, why not?
2. If the speaker you heard did not use illustrations find or recall at least one human interest illustration he could have used to support the theme of his speech. Tell this story either to a real or imagined audience and state the point it supports.
3. Listen to another speaker. Compare and contrast the illustrations this speaker used with those used by the other speaker. Always analyze why a story is weak or effective.
4. In a section of your speech notebook keep notations, or clippings of human interest illustrations on a theme of your choice.
5. Write in your own words a human interest illustration from history, biography, literature, a magazine, the news, or any other reading source.
6. Do the same from any oral source, such as other speakers, television, radio, and so on.
7. List the themes of a few stories which you think have been told so often they have become trite. Choose one of those themes and see if you can find a story which will not be trite to support it.
8. Tell the most interesting story you ever heard or read. Take only from two to five minutes for this (depending upon the amount of time the instructor has for it.) Keep the story moving! Put in interesting details but don’t waste words. Try for a dramatic effect upon the audience.
9. Study a few daily newspapers. Select several human interest illustrations. For each illustration write the theme it would support best. Choose the most effective illustration you found and tell it to other peopl. After others have done likewise frankly discuss the merits or weaknesses of any illustration used.
10. Read a biography of some person you admire. Relate orally the incident from this biography which impressed you most vividly.
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