Posts Tagged ‘Stories’
Saturday, August 27th, 2011
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.
If you do want to improve public speaking and reap the benefits that effective public speakers receive, you can get started straightaway with our free e-course on effecive public speaking by entering your details in the box to the right.
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.
Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
I am not sure this was the best topic for a speech but I think it demonstrates how to use language that is best for your audience. See my previous post to compare.
Butch’s point was “Don’t, let a girl put anything over on you.” Because of its human interest, romantic angle, and surprise ending, this illustration was well received by the students. Later, how¬ever, he put the story in a talking picture frame. Told it as people would expect Butch to talk and the way college students would really like to hear it. He dramatized it, and spoke as though the event were happening. at that very moment right before the audience’s eyes. He also gave the talk a title:
THE FLUFF OFF
Last week I was sprawled on my bunk in the dorm when the ‘phone rang.
I hopped up and answered.
Sweet momma! Who could she be?
Sue? Yeah, man. (A doll in anyone’s arms).
“Would I what, Sue . . . Take you to a party?”
“Well – er – well, er – YES!”
Dig that, man! Queenie askin’ me — a li’l ol’ freshman to strong-arm her to the party, with all the upper-class wolves glarin’ green-eyed.
I scraped the grouch-bag and dug up fifteen dollars for an orchid.
Queenie must have the best!
An hour later at the party, Queenie said, “Do you know why I asked you to bring me to this party, Butch?”
“No. I wondered.”
“I’m going with two fellows. And as I don’t want to hurt either of their feelings I asked you to bring me tonight.”
“Oh, I see. Back home, in Massachusetts, they’d call me the ‘fall-guy.’”
“Oh, no, Butch. Don’t feel that way about it … Butch . . .”
“This orchid’s nice. But it is rather small.”
(Small! Fifteen bucks! Small?)—This to myself of course,
. . . And so on into the evening.
Finally I took her home.
We stood at the door.
There was no good-night kiss. Just a frown from me, as I looked at my watch and exclaimed, “Oh, it’s after twelve o’clock! And I promised my wife I’d be home before midnight!”
Within reason a speaker speaks the language of his audience. As a person wears clothes suitable for the occasion, a style of speaking should also be in harmony with circumstances and in keeping with the audience’s tastes. Naturally if Butch were speaking to a group of teachers about the kind of textbooks students like he would adjust his manner to suit the subject and audience, yet he could still be natural and interesting.
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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.