Tip for Finding Stories to Make Talks and Presentations Engaging and Compelling

Here’s a valuable tip for finding stories from your life that you can use to make talks and presentations more engaging and compelling.  Both professional and personal stories can be used to illustrate ideas, make points and sell your services.

If you read my last post on 6 Reasons to Tell Stories in Presentations, Leadership Messages and Meetings, you’ll understand just how important it is to find and tell stories when speaking to groups.

The Process for Finding Stories

First, decide on three or four universal experiences that you will use as trigger words, such as success, failure and epiphany.

Then, make a list of roles you have played in your personal and professional life. Examples of personal roles might be son or daughter, mother or father, student or swimmer. Examples of professional roles might be new hire, individual contributor, team leader, project manager, vice-president, entrepreneur, nurse or doctor.

For each role on your list, ask the question, “Can I recall a time when I experienced one of my trigger words?” See if a story or experience pops up to mind.

If a story pops into your memory, give that story a title so you can remember it as a story. Write down the title of your story and the lesson that you learned from that experience.

Repeat this exercise with every role on your list. You may find several stories for each role.

Keep a catalog of stories and lessons learned so that you can search your list for stories that will help create content for talks, presentations, leadership messages and meetings. Your catalog of stories is especially useful when you have to create a talk quickly for a meeting.

I hope you find this tip for finding stories valuable. If you’d like to read about some reasons for telling stories in a business setting, please see my article 6 Reasons Why You Should Tell Stories in Presentations, Leadership Messages and Meetings

If you’d like help finding or telling stories for your next presentation, leadership message or meeting, visit for more information and reach out to me. I can help draw out your stories and shape them to make the points you want to make.


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