The Anatomy of a Great Story for Public Speaking


As a public speaker, your job is not just to get up on stage and speak, but to captivate, inspire, motivate and entertain your audience. One of the most effective ways to do this is through storytelling. A great story has the power to move people, to bring them to tears and to make them laugh. But what really makes a story great? In this article, we'll examine the anatomy of a great story for public speaking.

The Opening

The opening of your story is perhaps the most important element of all. This is where you need to grab your audience's attention and make them want to listen. There are countless ways to do this, but some of the most effective include:
  • An attention-grabbing question
  • A surprising statistic
  • An interesting fact
  • A dramatic statement
  • A shocking anecdote
Choose an opening that is relevant to your story and your audience and delivers a punch to get them hooked.

The Conflict

The conflict is what drives your story forward and keeps your audience engaged. It is the problem that needs to be solved, the obstacle that needs to be overcome. Without conflict, your story will fall flat. The conflict needs to be relatable and resonate with your audience. It should be something that they can identify with and care about.

The Characters

The characters in your story are crucial to engaging your audience. They need to be well-rounded, fully developed and relatable. Your audience needs to feel invested in them and care about what happens to them. You might be the hero of your story, but don't forget about the supporting characters that help bring your story to life.

The Resolution

The resolution is how the conflict is resolved. This is the climax of your story and the point at which your audience should feel the most invested. The resolution needs to be satisfying and make sense in the context of your story. It should also tie in with the overall message you're trying to convey.

The Message

Every great story has a message, something that it is trying to say. This can be implicit or explicit but should be clear to your audience. Your message should be related to the conflict and resolution of the story and should be relevant to your audience. It should inspire and motivate your audience to take action.

The Delivery

The delivery of your story is just as important as the story itself. Your delivery should be engaging, confident and authentic. Use pauses, inflection, and body language to convey your story. Make sure you rehearse so that your delivery feels natural and comfortable.


In conclusion, a great story for public speaking needs an attention-grabbing opening, a relatable conflict, well-developed characters, a satisfying resolution, a clear message, and engaging delivery. With these elements in place, you can craft a story that will not only captivate your audience but inspire and motivate them as well. Remember to always keep your audience in mind and tailor your story to their interests and needs.