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’.