This is something that I have heard so many speakers talk about, but I have only recently found out how powerful it really is.
I recently completed the Toastmasters humourously speaking advanced manual. This manual requires you to use humorous stories and jokes in your speeches. Almost every time, I got a better response from using my own stories, than I found by using a joke that I found, or from somebody else?s stories (not just for humour, but for making a point in general).
A story is a bit like a new word, once you first hear it, everybody seems to be using it (think the starfish on the beach story). Even though it may be a great story, it gets boring very quickly.
There are several reasons for this:
Your own stories or jokes
- Have a personal meaning to you
- Are easy to remember
- Are original
- Have a message that you can convey in a unique manner
- Keep the audiences interest
Other people?s stories or jokes
- Have been heard before (possibly many times)
- Are not original
- Tell somebody else?s message
- Lose the audience
One of the best ways to use your own stories is to keep a story file. Whenever anything interesting happens, or something strikes you as interesting, make a note of it in your story file. It can be as simple as a word document. Here is an example (that did happen to me).
- Recently, I was cycling up a steep hill (next to the Cape Point Nature Reserve)
- I got tired and was about to stop when I saw a pack of baboons
- I raced up the hill faster than I have ever done before
- You can do anything with the right motivation
- No matter how tired you are, you always can always find that extra energy
Now, when you are looking for a story to illustrate a point, it is a simple case to look through your story file. A story file is also a great place to look for ideas when you are getting stuck on a speech.
I also use my digital recorder to jot down ideas and stories when I think of them, and then add them to my story file later.