Why storytelling is important in public speaking by Sabirul Islam

By Guest Contributor Sabirul Islam

Author Sabirul Islam explains how to turn your passion for public speaking into a profession.

When the stage is set and you take your first few steps onto the platform, and a see hundreds of glaring eyes looking back at you, we can all understand why one might quiver in fear, or express a sense of self-doubt.

You are always told to be yourself, to be authentic and also to demonstrate integrity, no matter what the setting or scenario. One of the finest ways to both overcome a sense of anxiety and stage fright is to learn how to perform and present through storytelling. I deeply believe that storytelling expresses a sense of transformation. Both in physical form with your presence on stage and psychologically, allowing you to bring a sense of calmness.

As human beings, we are all-natural storytellers. You’ve lived life, experienced moments that led to some form of change, and when you deliver your message through stories, you smile, you express heaps of emotions which radiate authenticity.

Nothing provides a greater sense of comfort on stage than when you share a story or a life experience that relates with the topic of your speech. It helps to simplify what might have otherwise been a dull and quite complex subject.

The significance of storytelling as a public speaker is that it allows the audience to envision relatable details of your speech through mental visuals, which provides relevance to the audience. They put themselves in your shoes. They picture themselves as the characters you portray through your story. This is what captivates an audience and injects a sense of motivation for them to take action on elements of your story they find relatable.



1: Stories have a purpose – What do you want your story to achieve?

When you begin to contemplate the very essence of what makes a powerful story on stage, you have to define the purpose of why a story at a particular moment in the speech may add significance. A story, cannot be just any moment in your life, or an experience or something you might have heard others talk about. The story has to have a sense of weight, value and meaning both on the subject of your speech and to the audience who you will be presenting in front of.

An audience centred speech will allow you to embed a story that you know they will find engaging, which captures their emotions, inspire them in many ways. Your background insight on who the audience are, why they are attending the event will give you a strong sense of what stories might be effective to share with the audience.

Key focuses when planning to tell a story is to understand what you want this story to do. Where does it lead the audience? How does it intertwine with the core message of your speech? And most importantly will they be able to relate with this story?


2: Find the narrative – What journey will you be taking the audience on?

As mentioned, moments ago, storytelling expresses a sense of transformation. So, to take an audience on a journey of transformation, a story must have a narrative with a beginning that expresses a problem, a middle that demonstrates the actions taken to tackle this problem and an ending that brings to life the change or transformation experienced.

The significance and weight of the story is felt by the audience with the trigger of emotional responses that your story brings to the audience. Does the beginning of your story set a scene that allows the audience to connect with instantly? Is it something they might have felt or been involved in?


3: The aftereffects – What do you want people to do with the new found knowledge/experience?

A captivating story provides powerful messages throughout the duration of the story. The journey you take your audience through should have a goal that allows you to emphasise your personal beliefs on the subject and actions you want people to take.

For instance, A story I often share about is the pain of having a £50 note taken away from me, gifted by my dad when I was just 8 years old. This was a trigger that led me to save loose change each week that led to saving over a £1000 during my time at school. The message was about the importance of learning how to save from a young age and the story expressed the actions I took, and the sacrifices I made from not spending on things I did not need.

To some, a story might be a small element of the speech, but what makes storytelling incredible unique and powerful in public speaking is when the story has a personal touch, the emotional response gained from the audience is powerful. The connection between you and your audience becomes sync, and the message is felt on a much stronger level. This makes your presence on stage more influential, meaningful and empowering. Therefore, the outcome of what you want your audience to do or to take away from your message becomes a lot simpler.


SABIRUL ISLAM is world-renowned motivational speaker, author, facilitator and coach. Sabirul has inspired millions of people in 31 countries across the globe. He also developed the business board game, ‘Teen-Trepreneur, educating youth on financial literacy in developing nations. He is British-Bangladeshi and resides in the UK. 

Website: https://www.buildyourconfidenceonstage.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabirulislam

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Every aspiring speaker has one task, to master their communication and performance on stage. Through 14 years of experience and application, Sabirul Islam has crafted the brand Build Your Confidence on Stage – a fourstep process providing you with the tools and techniques to improve your passion and make money while doing so.  

In his brand, the four pillars of public speaking aim to instil aspiring speakers with the performance mindset; learning to control your content, your message and the manner of presentation which you require. The four pillars are: The Speakers Psychology; The Principles of Public Speaking; The Performance Masterclass; and The Profession of a public speaker. These pillars will demonstrate how to overcome fear and anxiety, break general norms and stereotypes, analyse the pre, during and post-performance techniques and master the discipline and its practise. Everything you need to become an expert in your field and make impact. 

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