How to Generate Stories for Speaking

Jun 24, 2017



Politics has never been so riveting!

As you can see, I managed to get a photo of the Prime Minister's new cabinet smuggled out of Downing Street.

I know that it will be no solace for Theresa May right now, but this episode in her career, which is filled with passion, drama and parables for learning, will provide her with an amazing signature talk, (as it will Jeremy Corbyn...the UKIP guy...probably not so much).

All of my students come to me with a yearning to inspire, teach and make a difference to others, and their business, career or brand growth, but some have no idea how to tell their story, and others doubt whether they even have something worth sharing.

When I work with people on creating their signature talk, we spend quite a bit of time on story-telling techniques, and creating stories, both to use then, and for whenever else a good story is useful to illustrate some concept, or aspect of learning. Our lives are a rich tapestry of tales, and we just need to know how to dig in the right way, to bring up the gold. That's what I'd like to focus on this week.


Getting the good stuff

As I mentioned the week before last, stories are invaluable in leading people through change and this simple technique can help you discover some stories that you can tweak to use in a variety of scenarios. Ok...here we go:

Step One:

Grab a friend or family member and take a trip down memory lane, visiting each of the following:

  1. People - talk about childhood friends, heroes, teachers, girlfriends, children, parents etc.
  2. Places - think about places you've visited on holiday, school trips, on business or days out, homes or hospitals etc.
  3. Things - toys, video games, collections, gifts you gave or received, etc.
  4. Time/Events - school, your first day, the big sports game, illness or accident, when you got your first pet, and so on...

You'll find stories surface that you'd forgotten all about, and soon you'll be drowning in storytelling options.

Step Two:

Now that you have your stories, see if you can relate each one to a theme that might be relevant or useful in the context of what you might be likely to be talking about, e.g. teamwork, change, problem solving, mindfulness, and so on.

Steps Three & Four:

Once you have your story, you would then see if you can restructure it to fit into the Hero's Journey structure, and lastly you would see where you could add in some humour, (if it needs it...).