Two Common Storytelling Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

During our presentation training workshops, we always emphasize the importance of narrative.

Stories, anecdotes, case studies, and analogies are stickier than abstract concepts—particularly for audiences that lack a depth of knowledge in your topic—and serve as easy memory hooks that draw audiences to your message.

Most of our trainees buy into the concept of using narrative during their talks—but they often make two mistakes that undercut its power. In this post, I’ll help you correct both mistakes.


The Science of Storytelling: Why Your Brain Loves Stories

For years, we’ve been advising our presentation training clients to incorporate storytelling into their presentations, often during the opening. We’ve consistently observed how stories captivate an audience and lead to the most memorable moments of an entire speech.

Frankly, it doesn’t take an expert to spot that. Everyone sitting in the audience sees the same thing.



A Key Lesson From David Letterman’s Retirement Speech

As you’ve heard by now, talk show legend David Letterman announced his retirement last night. What struck me about his retirement announcement was that he chose to frame it within an anecdote.

Letterman told a lengthy story about spotting a rare bird while fishing with his son. He didn’t know what breed of bird he had


How To Get People To Do What You Want

What’s the best way to get people—an audience, your staff, a teenager—to do what you want them to do?

If you’re like a lot of companies, leaders, or parents, you create a set of rules and policies. Do not give customers a free upgrade without supervisor approval. Get your reports in by the 15th of each


Three Winning Stories That Will Wow Your Audiences

This is an excerpt from my new book, The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need to Know Before Your Next Interview, now available in soft cover and all major e-book formats.

According to Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, “Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s rhetorical arsenal.” Yet


The Elements Of Great Storytelling (And A 9-Year-Old Boy)

What makes a video go viral?

A video featuring Caine, an imaginative 9-year-old boy living in East Los Angeles, spread like wildfire over the past week. It’s easy to see why.

This video features all six of the critical elements of great storytelling (more on those, below).

I’ve never posted an 11-minute video before, but this


Public Speaking Tip: Tell Specific Stories

Read these four statements, then answer the question(s) that follow in italics:

1. North Carolina was a bit too hot when I visited last year. How hot do you think it was?

2. Not too long ago, I attended the professor’s lecture. How long ago, exactly, was “not too long ago?”

3. The customer was irate. How


How To Tell A Great Story In 45 Seconds Or Less

I recently came across a website hosted by Harvard’s Neiman Foundation, which is running a terrific series called Neiman Storyboard. One feature called “Why’s this so good?” looks at noteworthy stories and analyzes why they’re so effective.

One short story – which will take you no more than one minute to read – is by

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