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The art of public speaking - Part 5


About DJC

The older I get, the less I know and the more inquisitive I get.

Unfortunately, despite a lifelong search, most of the answers elude me. That said, I love to ask the questions and fuel the debates that will ultimately lead us all to a better understanding of the big issues in life, the universe and everything.

They say that we spend 98% of our lives in our head. I for one would like to use that time as effectively as possible.


Tell a story and people will remember what you say.

Just 7-10 percent of the impact of a speech or presentation comes from the content, research shows. That fact is, most people struggle the remember the content of a speech.

Tell a story to be remembered.

Tell a story to be remembered. Picture: Shutterstock

Sometimes, the content does not matter (Churchill and Kennedy were simply inspiring), but there will be times when the content is critical and needs to be remembered.

Limiting the number of points being made is important in this regard. Most experts believe that the number of key points made in a presentation should be limited to a maximum of three. The more points made, the harder any of them are to be remember.

Research has found that stories can increase the retention of points made in a speech by 75%. This research identified retention levels as follows:

  • Facts – 5-10 percent
  • Visuals – 25-30 percent
  • Stories – 65-75 percent
  • Presenting facts is important. Photographs, graphs, diagrams and models can all help build retention levels by leaving a visual imprint. Stories, however, stick in the mind. Detailed anecdotes that demonstrate points in the speech are also remembered.

    Some great speakers, such as Ken Robinson of TED fame, build every speech around a series of stories and anecdotes. By telling stories, Professor Robinson illustrates points, makes the complex simple and ensures a greater level of personal engagement. All of this leads to increased retention, understanding and engagement.

    If you want to be a great presenter, learn from Hans Christian-Andersen. Tell stories that your audience relate to. They do not have to be clever or funny. They just need to be relevant and interesting.

    Source of core statistics – CORPORATE COMMUNICATION EXPERTS

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