How to Start Your Story: Introductions

Remember when I told you to write your speeches backward?  Start at the end and write the intro last?

That’s a bit harder to do when you tell a story, but it doesn’t make it any less important.  Introductions set the stage for your audience.

Introductions Matter

This week, we have a lot of material to cover, so we’re going to work very hard at it to get it all done.

That’s an introduction.  It signals several important things to the audience.

  1.  There’s important information that they need to pay attention to.
  2. There’s a deadline for this presentation.
  3. We are working together on this project.
  4. We will have to work hard to complete it all.

That’s a lot of information packed into one sentence.

Other sentences have similar impact on the listener.  We start stories like this:

Once upon a time…

Did you ever…

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…

These introductions set the stage and create expectations in the audience.  Which brings us to this question:

What do you want the audience to know when you start your story?

Things to consider:

  1.  If this is not your personal story, you need to cite the source.
  2.  A humorous introduction to a sad story creates conflicting emotions in the listener.
  3. Using imagery to create the scene helps the audience to buy into your story – especially if it’s unlikely to have happened in real life.
  4. How does the story end?

The ending is also as important as the beginning.  You need to take that moment when you’re done to let the audience absorb what you’ve told them.  Don’t rush the ending.  Let everyone savor the ending.

I’d like to end this assignment with something for you to really think about in preparation for the next speeches.

Here’s the link to the online worksheet.  After you’ve finished today’s class assignment, this shouldn’t be too hard.

Since it’s so easy, I want you to record your speech again and send the recording to the Google Drive.  Please follow the instructions on the previous post.  If you had trouble with this, then it is your responsibility to call me to figure out a solution.  It’s best to give it a try before you call me, and then note – that means write it down! –  where you’re having problems.

If you had a problem and could not create an MP3 file, please go to this site and follow the directions for your computer system.

Because of Thanksgiving, we have to speed up the pace of this assignment.  We will be having our speech presentations on November 12 and November 26.    We will draw cards again for the speaker order.


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