How to Be Memorable with Personal Stories

Your speeches are more effective when you include great personal stories.

Whether you’re a leader, manager, executive, sales professional, or keynote speaker, you are most effective when use great stories to illustrate your message. These three techniques will help you turn simple stories into examples that will be remembered and repeated:

  • Think chronologically.
  • Use shorter sentences or phrases
  • Consider each visual scene.

Mark, a brand-new district sales manager from a biotech company, was preparing to moderate a panel at the Las Vegas National Sales Meeting. He was nervous in his new role in front of the 100-person audience.

In our pre-coaching communications, I noticed his email signature line included a quote about “moving fast.” He explained that he had a new role and was “moving fast” to understand new products, clients, and products. This panel’s task was to encourage the audience to embrace new jobs in different areas and to realize that they would have to move fast to get up to speed.

Mark did not have any idea how to set the tone for the meeting. I asked, “What experience do you have with Las Vegas?”

Mark said, “After last year’s sales meeting, my wife Tammy came in for the weekend. We went to see the famous magician David Copperfield, and he made her disappear.”

The Fripp coaching version of this story was very easy for Mark to remember, and it incorporated the three techniques. Notice: I recommend that you write your script with one short sentence or phrase at a time going down the page, not across in a paragraph. As you rehearse, this makes it easier for you to internalize your story.

“After last year’s sales meeting,
my wife Tammy came in for the weekend.
We went to see David Copperfield’s magic show.
Three quarters of the way through his performance, Copperfield threw two dozen balls into the audience.
Tammy caught one.
Copperfield said, “If you touched a ball, please come on the stage.”
He seated 24 people on bleachers and covered them with a tarp.
Whoosh! Five seconds later they were gone!
Suddenly they appeared at the back of the room.
On the way out I asked Tammy, “How did he do it?”
She said, “We are sworn to secrecy. However, we did have to move really fast!”

Remember, the sales meeting was in Las Vegas, and Mark’s theme incorporated the importance of moving fast. He said, “The panel was a wild success, and everyone raved about my opening story!”

Stories are the best way to explain the complex and help your audience ‘see’ your message.

Why not have a conversation with Patricia Fripp to discuss how you can gain a competitive advantage by improving your presentations?Contact Patricia Fripp

“We consider the investment in Patricia a ‘must-have’ part of our events. She is part of the team. I’m honestly a bit reluctant to recommend Patricia publicly. We’d very much like to have her work exclusively with Nutanix. We are now leveraging Patricia in other areas outside of public events.

She is now coaching speakers for our high-visibility Executive Briefing Center. Not surprisingly, we’re receiving the same outstanding feedback from these presenters, too.”

– Greg Smith, Vice President, Product Marketing at Nutanix

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.