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4 Speaking Essentials to Inform an Audience: Storytelling (Part 4 of 4)

Following is the final post in this series by Ian Griffin, where he shares four approaches to sharing information with an audience. Today we tackle the big one: storytelling. 

Having considered how executives fail because they attempt to cover too much information in an unclear manner, let’s conclude this series on speaking to inform with a description of the best of all worlds: an information-rich presentation delivered with maximum clarity. This is the type of presentation the storyteller has mastered.

What subject experts fail to understand is the limited ability of the audience to absorb facts. People can only remember two or three main points in a speech. A few days after a talk, most of the information that is presented will have been forgotten.

What will be remembered are the stories you tell.

The most powerful way of speaking to inform is to use stories. These can be as simple as parables or nursery rhymes. By evoking an emotional response they implant information in a more memorable way than merely reciting facts. If you are speaking to inform, tell stories.

As voice coach Kate Peters says:

“…creating stories out of raw information can help you see a problem or situation better in order to understand the solution better. Sometimes the data is overwhelming, but the story behind the spreadsheet can be illuminating.”

Take the time to develop stories and you will be able to communicate complex information and move audiences to action.

A veteran speechwriter and executive communications specialist, Ian Griffin helps CEOs and senior managers develop strategic messaging and content for presentations to audiences worldwide. He is Past-President of the Northern California Chapter of the National Speakers Association and an active member of Toastmasters.  Ian has spent more than 20 years working with mainstream Silicon Valley companies such as Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.  His Professionally Speaking blog is found at

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