by J.A. Gamache

Third place Champion at the 2001 Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking

There are many tools you can use to illustrate a speech. You could show an image, quote a statistic or even develop an analogy. However, telling a story is my favourite technique for getting a message across to an audience. A story can have different forms. Here are a few:

– A lesson you learned from observing your child;

– An adventure read in a book and why it was important to you;

– A fairy tale and its application to your everyday life;

– An anecdote from a biography and how it helped you;

– A newspaper article and the action you took after reading it;

– A movie scene and the link you make with your own life;

– A television show and the reaction of a family member;

– A question and answer period at a press conference and what you thought of it;

– A childhood memory and the way it influences you today;

– A fable and the context in which that story was told to you;

– A historical fact and the effect it had on the life of one of your family members;

– Your pet’s reaction to something and the way it reminds you of your own behaviour;

– A personal anecdote or one about an acquaintance that made you see life differently;

– The way your parents or ancestors lived and why you do or don’t want to follow their example;

– A humorous adventure that you make up to illustrate an actual situation;

– The psychological traits you or someone you know may have in common with a cartoon character;

– A joke with a basis of truth;

– A telephone call that brought changes to your life;

– A good or bad surprise and its consequences.

Have you noticed that each type of story I just mentioned has a link to you? In order for a story to be efficient, it’s always better to establish a direct link between the story and the message YOU want to put across. Otherwise, the audience might not understand why you’re using the story.

This list is incomplete because stories can be found everywhere. I hope that it gives you an incentive to find

stories where you might not have thought to look before.

Happy speech!

©MMIX J.A. Gamache All rights reserved.


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This article was reproduced from “Speaking in Public with J.A.”, a FREE electronic magazine authored by J.A. Gamache, International Inspirational Speaker. To subscribe to his FREE e-zine or to find out more about his presentations, visit:


J.A. Gamache is Toastmasters District 61 ( representative to the 2011 World Championship of Public Speaking.  Check back next week to see how he did, or go to on Monday to see all the final results.

Hope you found these tips helpful on your journey to become a better communicator.

Fran Watson

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