Good public speaking requires the use of anecdotes throughout your presentation and, in some cases, stories. All anecdotes are stories but not all stories are anecdotes. While the anecdote is usually shorter than a story, do you know what distinguishes the two?

  • An anecdote is a true story; whereas, a story can be true but needn’t be.
  • One of the strengths of speakers who have integrity is that all of their words are true. The only time you would make up a story, for example, is if you were dealing with a comparison, a contrast, or trying to make a point. In doing so, it would be your responsibility to explain to your audience that what you are describing is fiction. If your fictional story is pertinent to your topic, then by all means, you can use it, especially if it helps explain an idea or a theory.

    The anecdote, on the other hand, is a story about you or someone you know, or even someone you don’t know, again, relevant to your topic. It is brief; it can be humorous; it can be thoughtful or profound. Its importance is that it gives you, the speaker, credibility.

    I use anecdotes throughout my presentations in which I reference the successes of my clients. In doing so, it shows that I have experience, knowledge and am trustworthy about my topic. In fact, some of my anecdotes about my clients are on video. The audience can then see that what I am explaining is true because they watch it happening to someone other than me. And, in that sense, it gives me even more credibility.

    Your experiences or your clients’ experiences in your area of expertise are what you need to reference in a persuasive speech or presentation because your purpose is to get your audience to agree with you, to believe in you, and to possibly invest in you, your services, or your product. And, with competition as great as it is in the speaking world, being able to stand out from the crowd is not an easy task; therefore, being able to testify that your message is valid, by means of anecdotes, is of utmost importance.

    By no means should your entire script be anecdotal. Just giving anecdotes is not a presentation but a story-telling. Audience loves true stories but that is not why they came to hear you unless you are giving an informative presentation about something you achieved that is near miraculous!

    Always tell your audience the truth; stick to anecdotes; and use them within reason.

    Author's Bio: 

    The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes Dynamic Public Speaking.

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