How to Keep Your Audience Engaged At All Times
Using one of the most powerful aspects of public speaking.
What do you believe is one of the most important aspects of public speaking?
Your content? Your ability to memorize every word? Your confidence on stage?
Of course those are all points to keep in mind when you’re mastering the art of public speaking, but one of the most important aspects is actually storytelling.
The majority of speakers out there in the world today seem to believe that the most effective way to deliver a great speech is to cram as much information and as many facts as they possibly can into every last minute they’re on stage.
The theory behind this method is that the speaker wants to prove to the audience how much they know by giving them as much information as possible in a short amount of time. But there’s a problem with this approach… human beings are simply not wired to absorb pure facts and data. It’s just downright boring.
Take a minute and think back to your days in university or college, or maybe even high school. Now think about all of the teachers you had who were pure lecturers. These teachers just stood at the front of the classroom and spit straight facts. How much of those lessons do you actually remember? Our guess is very few of them, unless they were incredibly important. Realistically, there’s a strong chance that most of that information is gone.
Now, still reflecting on your school years, this time think about that one particular teacher whose lessons to this day you still remember. We’re willing to bet that this teacher was a storyteller. A storyteller teacher doesn’t just deliver facts on top of facts, they tell you why that information is important by attaching a story to it. Years later, you still remember that lesson because of the story intertwined with it.
A storyteller teacher doesn’t just deliver facts on top of facts, they tell you why that information is important by attaching a story to it
Long before television, radio, the internet, books, and even written language, humans primarily communicated with each other through stories. There was a time when the only entertainment in the evening was sitting around the fire and telling each other stories about the events of the day or tales from the past. Sometimes people would even just look up at the stars and watch them move around the sky while making up stories about them. These were the primary forms of entertainment. At the same time, these were also the primary forms of passing information from one person to another, and from generation to generation.
The legends and stories our ancestors told were the only way knowledge of humankind in the early days was preserved. This goes back to the very beginning of human civilization.
As such, it’s hardwired into our brains to not only remember stories, but to also enjoy listening to them.
For this reason, as a public speaker, it is incredibly important that you use stories. Why? Plain and simple: stories evoke emotion. Emotion is what makes memories stick.
Stories evoke emotion. Emotion is what makes memories stick.
The reason you don’t remember any of those lectures from when you were back in school is because the teacher never really contributed any emotion to it, so unless the lesson was incredibly important to you (in which case you’d contribute your own emotion), you wouldn’t remember it at all.
So by telling a story and doing so in a way that attaches emotion to it, you’re using an incredibly powerful tool in your public speaking toolbox.
As human beings, we love stories. We think in stories. We talk in stories. And as you can see, telling a story is one of the easiest ways to explain a concept to somebody so that they can attach it to the information you’re trying to explain. Even if you’re in a situation where perhaps an audience isn’t so interested in the topic you’re talking about, by simply weaving in a powerful story, you’re increasing your chances of the crowd engaging and really connecting with you and your information.
By simply weaving in a powerful story, you’re increasing your chances of the crowd engaging
Being a public speaker, part of your job is to be enjoyable to watch and entertaining for your audience to listen to. You are an entertainer who also needs to inform, and in order to do that one of the best things you can do is — you guessed it — tell stories.
Becoming a master storyteller is a skill that will give you a massive advantage when it comes to leveraging one of the other most powerful principles in speaking: we call it “The Stage Effect.” It is basically the principle that the quality of your delivery and the size of your audience determines the amount of influence and attraction you can create as a speaker.
To help you learn how to leverage the incredible power of the stage effect we have put together a Free Guide for you.