How To Engage Your Audience Through Storytelling by Peter Dhu

As human beings, we are wired to connect with stories. From myths, legends, yarning and oral histories to modern-day films and books, stories have always been a central part of our culture and communication. But why is storytelling so important when it comes to public speaking?

The answer lies in the way that stories engage our emotions and imagination. In addition to emotional engagement, storytelling also helps to build rapport with the audience. When you share a personal story or a relatable situation, the audience is more likely to feel a connection with you and your message. This connection can help to build trust and credibility, which can make the audience more receptive to your message.

Why storytelling is effective in public speaking

Storytelling is an effective technique that can help speakers connect with their audience and convey their message in a memorable way. Stories are memorable. Unlike statistics or facts, stories have the power to stick in our minds long after we have heard them. When speakers tell stories that resonate with their audience’s emotions, they can create a stronger connection and make their message more impactful. By sharing personal experiences or anecdotes, speakers can demonstrate their vulnerability and authenticity, which can help them build trust and rapport with their audience.

Storytelling is effective because it engages the audience’s emotions and imagination, which can make the message more memorable, impactful, and persuasive. Additionally, stories often feature relatable characters and situations, which can help build rapport with the audience.

The power of storytelling

The power of storytelling in public speaking lies in its ability to engage, inspire, and persuade the audience. 

Storytelling captures attention: People are naturally drawn to stories. They provide an emotional connection that statistics and data cannot achieve. When a speaker begins with a story, it captures the audience’s attention and keeps them engaged. Sharing personal stories or anecdotes makes the speaker more relatable and human. 

When a speaker uses a story to illustrate a point, they are making a direct connection with the audience, which can make the message more meaningful and impactful.

How to use storytelling in public speaking

Using storytelling requires careful planning and execution. You need to choose a relevant story. Keep it simple and use sensory details and emotions. Practice storytelling techniques and use personal anecdotes. Tie the story to your message and keep it concise. Too much detail in the story can dilute your message and bore the audience.

While storytelling can be a powerful tool, it’s important to keep the story concise and to the point. Don’t let the story overshadow the main message of your speech. In public speaking, we always say relive the story, rather than tell the story.

The impact of storytelling on engagement

Storytelling has a profound impact on audience engagement, as it helps to hold the audience’s attention and make the message more memorable. When the audience is emotionally invested in the story, they are more likely to remember the message, which can lead to greater understanding and impact.

Stories can evoke emotions such as empathy, humor, and sadness, which help the audience connect with the speaker and the message. This emotional connection can increase engagement and create a more memorable experience for the audience.

It can also encourage audience participation, which increases engagement. For example, the speaker can ask the audience questions related to the story or use a story to introduce a group activity or discussion.


In conclusion, storytelling is a powerful tool for public speaking that can greatly enhance audience engagement. Whether you are speaking to a small group or a large audience, incorporating stories into your presentations can help make your message more memorable, impactful, and persuasive.

Interested in improving your public speaking skills? Join Peter at the Winning Presentation Skills on October 23rd in Perth. Limited seats available, so register now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *