People Love To Be Told Stories
Never Give Them Raw Facts, Tell A Story

I have mixed feelings about Ronald Reagan as a President, but I have nothing but high respect for him as a public speaker. From analyzing how he does it, I have concluded he is a superb story teller who sprinkles his speeches with lots of well-told stories. An example I remember is his introduction of Barry Goldwater to the Republican Convention when Goldwater was making his bid to become President. He could have told the story this way:

" Barry Goldwater is a man of high compassion for his fellow man. Upon finding a group of servicemen in the airport with no way to get home on Christmas Eve, he unselfishly took them home in his airplane."

The way (more or less) he told the story was:

" It was Christmas Eve at the airport. The crowds were beginning to thin out as they scurried to catch their planes. Huddled alone in the middle of the room sat a small group of servicemen. A man approached them and asked, "What's the problem boys?". They replied they had no way to get home for Christmas. The man replied, "Come on boys, I'll take you in my plane". That man's name was Barry Goldwater!".

Wow, what a difference.

There is nothing wrong with being a little theatrical in your presentation, if it gets the point across. Also, I see nothing wrong in embellishing the truth a little to make the story better. Mark Twain did it all the time. So did Ronald Reagan.

©  2002 John D. Toellner, All Rights Reserved