Want to deliver a great speech? Then go back to storytelling

Want to deliver a great speech? Then go back to storytelling

Public Relations | Judette Coward-Puglisi

September 12, 2008

Caption: Role model speaker, Anna Maria Garcia Brooks

I was talking to some senior managers over at Republic Bank about conducting some speech writing training modules for their editorial team. I mentioned that I found their general manager, Anna Maria Garcia Brooks, a role model of a speaker. It is not only because Brooks has an excellent command of the podium but because she knows that the best way to connect with the audience is through storytelling.

I know only of a handful of executives who do this. Instead, at the lectern, they present a laundry list of facts and data delivered in isolation or they look at the data/text on their power point presentation and have the audacity to read word for word. How boring!


5 thoughts on “Want to deliver a great speech? Then go back to storytelling

  1. Thanks for the info Judette. I’ve recently entered the world of speechwriting and the first one I did sounded like an essay I once wrote in UWI…dull as hell…lol. I’m getting the hang of it but anymore tips like this would be useful.

  2. I totally agree. Now I know delivering a speech and a lecture is not quite the same but I have found that lecturers who use stories (compelling ones might I add as I have heard quite a few boring ones) into the lesson they are presenting are the ones that resonate with me the most.

    Granted, I am young and we are notorious for having a very limited attention span. But I believe my lack of ability to retain boring…yes I said it boring power point presentations has less to do with age than it has to do with preference. I prefer to have someone engage me than recall a textbook verbatim, I prefer to have someone appeal to my emotions than spew facts at the drop of a dime and I certainly prefer a tall tale which nicely illustrates a point over notes or even handouts.

    These are the lecturers I most remember and it is the learnings from these classes that are permanently etched with me.

  3. Laura, I can’t, for the life of me, imagine you writing anything dull. Yet you are right speechwriting requires technique as well as talent (for writing that is)

    So next time you write remember to add a story involving a conversation you had with a colleague, client, customer or friend that makes your message come alive. I am happy to share some examples of my own off line. Oh! I just remembered. Click on http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html for Steve Job’s address to Stanford a couple of years ago. His entire speech was done through storytelling.

  4. Thanks for the feedback La Toya. We must declare that you are the senior PR assistant at Mango Media Caribbean and my guinea pig listener for all the speeches I write for our clients. By now you’ll definitely know what makes a great speech.

    I have to say though my formulae in college for lecturers who read from the book and refused to add an iota of critical thinking and analysis to the material? Skip the class. I was renowned for having study groups at the same time as the lecture and booking year 3 students to act a s a guide. Sigh. That way before they made singing in mandatory.

  5. Thanks Judette, we’ll definitely talk. Speech writing for me was the last frontier, for some reason it a;ways intimidated me so I think that’s why my first attempt sucked so much.

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