How Did that Speech Make You Feel?

Storytelling is as much about the feelings in the listener as it is about the content of the story.  How did the storytelling speech make you feel?

That’s why we had a different evaluation form for you today.  Today’s speech evaluations will never leave your hands.  It’s for you to analyze –


Make You Feel?

Instead of focusing on your own skills today, we’re going to take a backdoor approach to your own skills.

I don’t know why this is true, but it is.

The things you notice in someone else’s speech are the things you need to fix in your own speeches.

That’s weird, but it’s true.

  1.  Did you think today’s speakers did a good job of creating feelings in you?
  2.  Did the speaker use good hand gestures?
  3.  Did the speaker’s body language convey a non-verbal part of the story?
  4. Did the speaker’s vocal variety help you to understand the different characters?

How you respond to those questions tells you what you need to work on in your speeches.


Speaker Evaluation of Yourself

The storytelling evaluations will be important to you after Thanksgiving.  Don’t lose them!

Make a few notes about your feelings, yes, but the speech evaluation form I gave you focuses mostly on speaker skills.

  • Eye contact
  • Body language
  • Vocal variety.

Looking back, do you see an improvement in how you are presenting in class?

(In case you’re wondering, I’ve seen all of you improve immensely!  I’m so proud of all of you!)


Homework assignment:

  1.  Our next speech will be persuasion.  You might want to think of something you want to persuade you parents about – getting a pet, getting your license, getting another baby brother… and start thinking about what you may want to say to them.
  2. Nothing else!  If you’re not on the speaker list for this week, you’ll be speaking next time – the week after Thanksgiving.  You’ll need to practice during the break, of course, but I’m looking forward to the break as well!


See you later, alligators!


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.


Storytelling: Pick Your Story and Stick To it

Our next speech assignment is Storytelling.

Let’s start with the first problem you might have:

Your story does not have to be true.

By definition, a story is fiction.  It is not true.  It’s not a record of the events or a testimony before a court.  So if you’re telling a personal story in your speech, you may change things up.  The location, the people, the event – none of these have to be reported like it’s a news story.  This is your story.  You can tell it however you want.

Just be aware, if you make your sister sound bad – she will hear about it.  I guarantee it.  So if you want to make someone sound worse than they truly are, you might want to not use a real person in the story.

If you are using a story about yourself or a family member, please be aware that they might not like you using it.  Ask if you think they might have an opinion.  And if they don’t like the idea of you not telling the story truthfully, explain this rule:  stories don’t have to be true for this assignment.

Your story needs to be interesting.

Think about an adventure.  It’s going to do and see something new.  You’re giving that to your audience. You’re giving them something that needs to entertain or educate them.  You need to engage their emotions.

We will talk about the basics of storytelling.  How to put emotion into our speeches by

  • using sensory words and images
  • crafting the sequence of the story
  • creating a lead character that the audience can relate to.

We need to create an adventure for our audience.  That requires an introduction and a conclusion that will satisfy our listeners.

If you create a roadmap for yourself, you can help yourself not need notes for your story.  You’ll need to memorize what you want the audience to feel, not the words that you have to say.  When you’ve got your emotional road map written down, you’ll be surprised at how much easier storytelling can be.

That roadmap isn’t a quick exercise.  You need to recognize the value of each character and every action.  You need to think about what the audience will need to respond to so that they have the emotional reaction you want.

The story setting creates a mood for your audience.

Please read the following link.


Now that we’ve covered the basics, your homework assignment is pretty simple.  Go to the link and answer the questions about your upcoming Storytelling Speech.*

Please decide your topic before you try to answer these questions.  Once you’ve decided it, stick to it.  We have a lot of work to do and you’ll be recording your speech and submitting it again next week, so get to work!


*Just as a reminder – these assignments do contribute to your grades.  Doing these can make the difference between the grade you get on your speeches and the next grade up.  Just sayin’.