Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How to Find the Best Sources of Stories, Anecdotes and Quotes for Your Speeches and Presentations

When you make public speaking your "magnificent obsession" you will find material for your speeches and presentations all around you. As a speaker you need to become an observer of life and not just people - all life. You can learn as much from observing nature and inanimate objects such as buildings as you can from watching people.

A news story, an incident, a casual remark in a conversation among friends or even with strangers can all provide inspiration for a story or vignette that can form material for your speech. If you are a speaker you need to carry a notebook and or recorder with you at all times so that you can immediately capture these moments of inspiration. If you don't they are likely to disappear into the ether.

If you are a speaker then it follows that you are also an avid reader and as you read certain combinations of words will leap off the page or screen and will resonate with you. These phrases and sentences will form some of the quotations that you will use in your speeches. Some of these quotations will be so powerful that they will generate stories of their own. Online sources of famous quotations include
thinkexist.com, brainyquote.com and wisdomquotes.com.

So that you don't have to spend time scouring newspapers and the like, you can sign up to a service such as Google Alerts so that you are notified of news stories that relate to your subject matter. You just need to select your key words and choose how often you wish to receive alerts. You will then have an automatic way to keep abreast of the latest news stories on topics of your interest. In this way you can keep abreast of breaking news stories and have fresh material to incorporate into your presentations.

However, your first port of call in finding material for your speeches and presentations is your own life. Scan your life and you are sure to find amusing anecdotes and life-defining moments. It is these stories and experiences that make you unique and, what's more, no one can tell these stories like you can. Even if others may later tell your life story, only you can tell in the first person.

At first, it may be a little disconcerting to expose yourself and your life in this way, and perhaps revealing your foibles, but it is this which helps you to build a connection with your audience. Your audience is not listening to you to judge you. They are listening because they too have their stories but they don't want their past to become their future. They are looking for a guiding light, for inspiration, and they will receive your message more readily if it is seen to have come from someone who isn’t perfect because this gives them hope that if you can overcome your limitations and then they too can overcome their obstacles and achieve success.

Material for your speeches is within you and all around you and, as you become consumed with the desire to become an eloquent and insightful speaker, it will reveal itself to you.

As Marcel Proust said,

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

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