The secret weapon for a great conference experience is having storytelling speakers on your agenda. A memorable keynote speech is one that is filled with both information and powerful stories. Speeches that have high level impact are more than data. A speaker who weaves meaningful storytelling into their presentation will cause the audience to lean in and pay closer attention. It is story that causes conference participants to share an experience that will move them take action.
The problem is not all keynote speakers are storytellers. Talking at an audience is not the same thing as relating to them as a peer who understands.
Select A Speaker Who Is A Storyteller
When seeking a speaker who is an experienced in storytelling the meeting planner needs to do their homework. In the meetings world there are trends for speakers that move between content and style. A few years ago it was popular for speakers to advertise themselves as a “Content Speaker”. While these talks were often high learning, audiences did not walk away feeling they had just been part of anything special. A very smart “Sage of Stage” can lecture a group of people, it takes a different set of skills to touch the emotions.
Our brains are actually wired to learn from stories. If you look back 2000 years people did not sit around the fire and pass out Excel spreadsheets or pie charts. They told stories. Humans have educated countless generations by sharing meaningful stories that merge information with compelling words.
Keeping It Simple
A storyteller speaker does not try to prove to anyone that they are the smartest person in the room. They style their words to be fun and engaging, while at the same time not cramming too many points into their keynote. A speaker who uses story knows their purpose as in delivering a keynote address. They are aware of who is in the audience and what they are trying to accomplish. Being a great speaker does not need to be complicated. Those who overthink the process are the ones that come up short.
Real Life Examples
The best speakers are observers. They are experts on their topic who share examples they have witnessed. Great speakers rarely deliver book reports about popular topics or tell “over told” canned stories like “the Lighthouse Story” or the “Starfish Story” (both of these are examples that are not original thought). When a speaker tells you real examples and are fully open and vulnerable, they connect with the whole group.
Crafting A Speech
A storytelling speaker does not always give the same speech. If you see them speak at one conference it will not be the exact presentation you will see four months later. Great speakers are always crafting their talks and changing the stories they tell. They customize their keynote speech for each audience and will insert fresh stories that are meaningful to the specific group to whom they are with that day.
About Thom Singer
Thom Singer is a storytelling speaker and professional EmCee. Thom is a popular professional speaker who has presented to over 800 audiences. He uses humor and stories to engage audiences and cultivate a culture for taking action. In his role as a funny keynote speaker he speakers to corporate and association audiences at meetings and conferences of all sizes. He can be booked directly or via your favorite speakers bureau.