A Storytelling Mistake Every Speaker Needs to Avoid

why speakers must never tell drive-by storiesHere’s a non-secret spoiler alert: Storytelling is the single best means a speaker has to excite an audience and inspire them to remember their ideas long after they step away from a podium.

Unlike facts and figures which are typically forgotten lickety-split, well crafted and delivered stories have the power to engage the human brain at an entirely different level – making it monumentally more likely your ideas can be recalled weeks, months or even years after being shared.

“Big deal. Surely everyone, including any leader worth his or her salt, must know that”, I hear you cry!

Of course.

BUT – while most executives do indeed appreciate the latent potency of first rate storytelling, here’s something that might surprise you (and this is based on having worked with thousands of business leaders to hone their speaking skills over many years)…

…The number of senior executives who are both confident in their storytelling capabilities and give mostly story centric talks that engage at a heightened level is remarkably low!

Very odd, isn’t it? And it begs an obvious question:

Why would anyone not adopt and hone their use of this far superior means to win and keep audience attention – especially since storytelling is such a natural thing to do and, per research, is responsible for 75% of all meaning you, I and everyone gets and shares in life?

Curiously, even for those who don’t think they possess much of a storytelling prowess – which incidentally, with a little coaching, is NEVER true – the issue is rarely that:

  • They don’t have oodles of raw material they could potentially fashion to share ideas with others, or
  • They never include stories in their talks (albeit story free talks are more common than you might imagine)

But, all too frequently and disappointingly, the stories they do tell fail to connect with audiences at anything near the level they could.

How come? What’s going on and what could be done about it? Here’s what you should know:

3 Secrets Every Speaker Should Know About Stories That Engage

Listen in to this recent video when I delve into the perils of sharing what I call ‘drive-by’ stories and the secrets you need to avoid this sorry syndrome:







Photo credit: Bruno

About Eamonn O'Brien

Public speaking master, Eamonn O'Brien is the founder of The Reluctant Speakers Club.