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This post was written by
Scott Schwertly

Scott is the Founder and CEO of Ethos3.

Michelle Obama gave a truly riveting speech at the Democratic National Convention last year. The speech garnered rave reviews, and revealed her public speaking skills as nearly on par with the President’s. The speech is wonderfully conversational and warm, while at the same time, fierce and passionate. What makes the speech truly great, however, is her storytelling throughout. The entire speech is a melody of stories that work two-fold by presenting the personal side of Barack Obama in relation to his policies.

The speech is essentially a tale of personal struggle; one laden with little anecdotes and minor details to which almost everyone can relate. She talks about Barack picking her up in a car that was so rusted she could see the pavement going by underneath them. She talks about the coffee table he found in the dumpster. She says at one point their student loan bill was higher than their mortgage payment. It’s these kind of stories that make the audience nod their head, and think, “Me too.”

We must find this level of personal connection in our presentations to make them unforgettably relevant to our audience. Michelle’s stories about Barack bring him down to earth; they present him as an individual who has struggled and worked hard to get where he is today, and thusly, who is someone who relates to the average working man’s struggles.

Not once in the speech does she use the words “Romney,” or “leadership,” but she touches directly on both subjects through her storytelling. Remember: Show, don’t tell. Rather than lifelessly stating, “Barack Obama is a leader,” Michelle painted a picture of that leadership with her poignant, genuine storytelling.

How can you tell stories like Michelle Obama to make a lasting impact on your audience? 

 

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