Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category
Saturday, June 25th, 2011
Where do you put your best content in your speech?
Another important principle in arranging speech material is to use the most interesting items near the conclusion of a speech. Like a thrilling story or captivating play a speech should become more interesting as it proceeds. All material should be highly interesting, but it should build to a strong climax to keep audiences deeply interested. This principle of holding interest applies to any type of audience.
In addition to arranging material in a style suited to a special occasion or to a certain type audience, the choice of the material itself is very important.
For instance, when a college professor was invited to address a group of teenage boys he was told, “They’ve heard so many dull, ‘pink tea’ speeches they’re disgusted with speakers. You’ll have a difficult time holding their attention. And don’t be sur¬prised if they try to steal your socks!”
This youth group was associated with a church. They were sons of active business and professional people, neglected perhaps, but not delinquent. Probably they would willingly listen to a speech slanted to their natural interests.
What speech material would interest these young men? Illus¬trations about stock markets or how to retire gracefully at sixty-five? No. They are not ready for that yet. Fairy tales or stories about flying kites? No. “Kid stuff” does not appeal to teenagers..
How about action, drama, suspense? Yes, these qualities would appeal to almost any group, excluding possibly an extremely reserved or aged audience. They would appeal especially to teen-
agers who .usually have so much excess energy they scarcely know what to do with it.
So the professor began his speech with a story about Tommie Thomas who had committed nearly every crime in the books except murder. He had a picture o£ Tommie in prison garb and a three-day beard. Displaying the picture he exclaimed, “How’d you like to meet him in an alley at midnight?” Whereupon, one of the most brazen boys in the audience said, “Oh, ain’t he cute?”
“Cute, my eye?” retorted the speaker. “Why, he …”
Then followed a vivid account of some of the crimes Tommie had committed.- The words were colorful, action was fast. There was suspense, tragedy. The boys listened intently because the material they were hearing was naturally interesting for them.
The speaker’s purpose was not to glorify crime but to gain respect for law and order. There was another side to Tommie Thomas’ story wherein he found that crime isn’t the most satisfying occupation. But that came later. And it was not told in a direct “preaching” manner, but in a fascinating, dramatic style.
There is more to come. But what do you think is the best place for you best content? Do you think this would help your speaking skills? If you are struggling with confident public speaking and nerves get the better of you try our free e-course that you can enrol in by entering your details in the box to the right.
Saturday, June 18th, 2011
Here is a great tip on how to make stories come alive when giving a speech.
A few speakers have discovered that substituting, through creative thinking, persons they really know for characters in a story helps make those characters more realistic and vivid for listeners.
Take the story of Fats for example. Most likely you already know at least one Five-by-five, don’t you?
Is he called Charlie, Jack, Tubby, Buster, Bill? In your thoughts observe him at length. Hear him talk, see him walk. Sense his character as totally as possible. Next as you talk about Fat Samples keep visualizing your Buster.
Good-by, Buster. Look at you parking cars in Atlanta.
And who couldn’t see the attractive Maxine on Mental Television? 120 delicious pounds, nicely curved and packaged. A dazzling, brown-eyed, honey-combed, Atlanta peach.
Perhaps she is the girl across the street. Or somebody you knew once . . . Britney . . .. Jean . . . Cheryl . . . Penelope?
Next by means of imagination, the public speaker senses the situation as Cupid fires his arrows. As he visualizes and feels as vividly as he can while he discusses Fats and Maxine, the story “is brought to life” for him and for his listeners.
Obviously the theory would be the identical for any other story.
A speaker ought to change a published story in his own words, not like a formal composition or perhaps a legal document, but just like a person would really talk to a buddy over a backyard wall. A successful public speaker makes his stories live by showing them in natural talking-pictures of living;
Observe this story which was told by Tom, a freshman in a university speech course:
Last week I was surprised to get a ‘phone call from one of the most popular girls on the campus.
She invited me to take her to a big party – a campus affair.
I ran out and bought her a fifteen dollar orchid.
And when we got to the party she asked me if I knew why she had wanted me to bring her.
I told her I didn’t know.
Then she said it was because she had been going with two fellows and didn’t want to ask either of them for fear of hurting their feelings.
“Where I came from they’d call me the ‘fall guy’ in this situation,” I said.
“Oh, don’t feel that way about it, Butch,” she replied.
Then she said, “Your orchid is nice, Butch, but it is rather small.”
Small! A fifty dollar orchid small?
I had a miserable time that evening.
Then, when I took her home, I looked at my watch and exclaimed, “Oh, it’s past twelve o’clock, and I promised my wife I’d be home before midnight!”
In my next post I’ll speak about the point of story and compare it with other ways to tell this story. If you want to learn to speak with confidence check out our free e course by entering your details in the box to the right.
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
So how do you change a story in a newspaper for using when public speaking. If you remember the formal writing from my last post, compare it to this weeks post to see the difference.
The ladies name, Maxine, is mentioned close to the start, rather than labelling her the “object of his affections,” and that is trite.
Meaning of the phrase, “attracted but adamant,” in news reports probably are not clear for- some listeners. Even though adamant is not an odd word it may sound somewhat similar to a new kind of washing machine. Plus it doesn’t create a definite picture in listeners’ minds.
And so after the strategy of making word pictures, the public speaker said nothing at all about “attracted but adamant.” Instead he pictured lovelight in Maxine’s eyes, and pride on her tongue.
After that for interest, to get away from so many statements, he chucked in a brief, simple question, “Just what did Fats do?”
Scattering speeches with questions and exclamations affords variety and relaxes listeners’ minds. Short sentences, also, are easily understood by listeners’ brains. However utilizing a lot of lengthy sentences causes a speech to drag or ramble.
But getting back to the story – rather than allowing Fats keep on being a hero, the public speaker finishes with a bit of humor. He has the person return to his old practice of eating pork.
When listeners hear this they smile and say to themselves, “Just like an old, married man!”
Like an arranger improvises or adds “extra touches” to a musical composition, public speakers may take reasonable liberties with an illustration.
A speaker should never go away from the basic truth in a story, but he can include colorful phrases to produce scenes clearer. Magnolias and moonlight, for instance, add color to a Dixie suggestion.
Personas ought to be considered in a normal manner. Fat Samples would speak, in a gentle, good-natured drawl, “Max, Honey, will yuh all marry me?” Certainly he would not talk in the manner of a Philly lawyer who may say, “Mr. Marvin F. Samples proposed marriage to his fiance, Miss Maxine Whippledager, III, while conversing with the party of the second part in a vehicle commonly called an automobile.”
In other places another sweetheart might say, fast as the ticking of a wrist watch, “How’s about it, Kid? Let’s you’n me git spliced!”
An appealing speaker studies the personalities in his stories. He imagines them speaking in a natural, realistic manner. He isn’t like a producer of an amateur production who insisted that a junkyard trader (in the play) speak with excellent enunciation like a, typical university president. Studying people, and showing them true to life will make stories “naturally” intriguing. Why don’t you play along with nature and present people as they actually are rather than in an artificial, stilted style or perhaps the way we think they should be!
In my next post I’ll give you another tip on using stories in public speaking. Stories are a very important part of persuading and informing people when speaking to groups of any size. Our free e-course will help you speak with confidence and receive the benefits that go to confident speakers. You ca get the e-course by putting your details over to the right.
Saturday, June 11th, 2011
You can find interesting stories to use in public speaking in newspapers. But, how do you change them to be more interesting for use in a speech?
A human interest story can be made a lot more fascinating by organizing it in a way which particularly is attractive to audiences.
Musicians know that the kind of arrangements they perform will certainly have an impact on audiences’ reception of their tunes. Similarly the arrangement of a story is essential. Occasionally a public speaker will be able to improve a story he hears or reads prior to using it in a speech.
Observe the following story as it appeared in several daily papers:
307 Pounder Drops To 170 All for Love
Atlanta – Marvin “Fat” Samples, a parking lot worker, fell in love – all 307 pounds of him.
The object of his affections was attracted but insistent. “Chop off 127 pounds,” she said, “and we will see.”
Samples did exactly that, going on a rigid diet plan and getting his
bodyweight right down to a hundred and eighty in only eight months time. Maxine, an attractive redhead, said yes and they were married.
The bridegroom did not quit. He kept on staying on a diet and today weighs a mere 170. How did he do it?
“I simply ate steak and tomatoes,” Samples said, “and drank all the black coffee I wanted.”
Here is a love story. A heart throb with a hint of humor. 300, seven pounds of human interest. It’s interesting as the reporter wrote it. However one public speaker thought he could make this story more fascinating. Here’s the way he shared it:
Marvin “Fat” Samples a parking lot attendant of Atlanta, fell in love – all 307 pounds of him, with a gorgeous hazel-eyed brunette, named Maxine.
Parked in a jalopy, beneath a full moon, and in a magnolia-scented lane, Fat took her peach pickin’ hand and just like a lovesick hippopotamus, drawled, “Max, Darling, will yuh all marry me?”
The lovelight in her eyes said yes, but pride compelled her tongue to say, “Chop off over one hundred pounds, Big Boy, and we will see.”
What exactly did Fatty do?
He ate lean beef and tomatoes rather than potatoes and fat pork. And following 8 months of half starving, the poor fellow lost 127 pounds, nearly enough lard to fill a bushel basket.
Then he popped the question once again.
She gave him the once over and said, “Yes, sir-ee!”
They were married. And he adored her so much that to please her he voluntarily lost another ten pounds. However – maybe as of this very second, Fats is at the refrigerator looking for yet another beloved pork sandwich!
How does this differ from the news story?
I’ll answer the question in my next post. If you are looking to be more interesting public speaker or presenter check out our free e course in the box on the right and get it direct to your in-box.
Sunday, September 12th, 2010
Human interest illustrations are the comedies and dramas, the laughs and tears, the fears and cheers in a life. They may be as simple as a splinter in your big toe, or as deep as mixed emotions, such as you might have if you should see your mother-in-law driving your Cadillac over a cliff; the bike that broke your arm, the date that did not materialize. There can be human interest when a person falls into a lake, or in love, loses his billfold, gets an unusual telephone call, or in one of a million other unusual bits of life.
Human interest occurs when people experience something different than is usually expected.
Boy meets girl. Could this situation be correctly called human interest? Perhaps only for the two who meet.
Try starting a conversation or a speech with, “A boy met a girl today!”
What is the listener’s response? “So what? That happens thousands of times every day.”
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. “So what?”
They will be married in June, or July. Still so what?
But . . . enter a blonde charmer, an heiress, who drops her check book and looks at the boy with an expression that could be poured on waffles.
The poor girl who is to be married in June or July sees what
is happening, but she is still determined that those wedding bells
will ring for her as originally planned; !
So what now becomes “Whatl So?” The story has become interesting because it has left the beaten path of the usual routine. There is evidence of approaching conflict, dramatic action, suspense—vital elements of human interest.
So what makes a story interesting? More to come.