The Everything Public Speaking Book: Delivering a Winning Presentation Every Time!

By Scott S. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Eloquent Sources

An informative or persuasive speech may be effective enough in getting across your message if you follow the basic rules. But if you want to make it more memorable and moving—more eloquent, with features and phrases that stick in the mind and uplift the soul— there are a number of tactics you should master. One is to tell stories that illustrate your points. Another is to quote the colorful and insightful observations of others (preferably the famous) about your topic. Citing poems can also provide an artistic flourish that touches the emotions.


Why Stories

“Why not begin with a story?” asks Dale Carnegie rhetorically in Public Speaking for Success. “From ancient times on, storytellers entertained, educated, and enlightened their listeners—from primitive people squatting around a campfire to villagers assembled in the town square…. Troubadours sang ballads or recited poems and sagas…. We still all want to hear stories.”

In her classic handbook for storytellers, Using Stories and Humor: Grab Your Audience, Joanna Slan explains that the most memorable speeches appeal to both the logical, or left, side of the brain and the emotional, or right side. “Stories showcase content in an emotional setting,” which aids long-term retention, she notes. Anecdotes also give information context, without which it “exists only as clutter” in the mind.

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