Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.



Joseph Campbell wrote a book called The Hero with 1000 faces. In it, he revealed to us that all major stories share the same plot line. Really?! Really. This was revolutionary in its discovery back then as much as it is today because he figured out the recipe! Why does this matter to public speaking? Well, when you think about it, stories have been part of human kind from the beginning.  Whether the stories were used to convey emerging morals in society or etched through pictures on cave walls... stories have a way of gripping us and sticking in our memories. A great piece of advice is to somehow (usually as a teaser in the beginning of your speech) incorporate a story or stories into your speech. Human kind seems to have a special place for stories in their memories and therefore this can become a powerful tool in your speech.


*Pro tip:  If you want to tell a really bad story- tell us about how great you are or were in your accomplishment.  The truth is that nobody cares about how good you are.  Instead, everyone is tuned into their favorite radio station WIIFM... Whats In It For Me.  

Instead, start with one of these three techniques - 

  1. The biggest failure you have ever overcome and what you learned from it.
  2. The moral of your story (ie. Today I'm going to tell you about the time I learned that it was bad to steal).
  3. The meeting of a mentor.

The best of the best will start their speech by telling 3/4 of a PERSONAL story that is true and relevant to the topic, go into the structure that was outlined in this Lib guide, and then finish the speech with telling the last 1/4 of that story.  These are the things that receive standing ovations!