Stories For Public Speaking

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In public speaking stories play a big part in drawing your listeners in, if they are interesting. But where can you find them?

A speaker who’s serious about giving inspirational talks reviewed a daily paper for subject matter. He wanted “WHAT SO?” stories instead of those that might cause audiences to yawn and say, “So what?”
Glancing at the first page the speaker noticed news about politics, crime, weather, and people killed in accidents. But this was just not the kind of news he wanted.
He turned the page and read: 3 Pay Fines on Traffic Charge.
So what? Nothing strange, taking into consideration the way some individuals drive today. . . .
Now what’s that? Ladies Aid Society Meets. So what? Maybe pink tea is going to be served. Such uneventful meetings occur frequently around the world.
At a peek the speaker knows he need not read those items.
But there is an unusual one – Man Pays $555.38 For Turkey Dinner. WHAT! SO?
Why? (Tell us much more!) Most likely this story could be different, unusual. The reader’s curiosity was aroused. Upon reading through the story he found that a guy, red with anger, had screamed at a waitress, “I won’t pay $12.88 for a chicken dinner!”
The angry customer stormed and ranted until the police arrived. He then paid $12.88 for the meal, plus a fine of $542.50 for dis-orderly conduct. In fact an overall total of $555.38 for a turkey dinner.
This is action. Human nature at work in an abnormal way. It is a little bit of real life to support a concept: An out of control outburst might be costly.
Upon examining his files, this speaker discovered he had forty-two stories about this subject alone. This is a common one:
Jim’s Burned Up – And So’s His Car By Anderson, S. C. – It was 103 in the shade here and James McDowell 22, was out in the sun half the day attempting to fix the carburetor on his 1946 car.
He couldn’t fix it. So he purchased a dollars worth, of gasoline, sloshed it on the car, and tossed a match onto it. Then he relaxed in a rocker on a nearby porch, remarking, “Let ‘er burn.”
The breach of “a city ordinance against starting a fire near a home cost him a $525 fine.
Within this story the speaker found unusual action, genuine human interest. He used it in a speech called: Spin your top – don’t “blow” it.

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