How classic storytelling narratives can improve your speeches

If you’re dreading writing an upcoming presentation, you can take solace in
the fact that the book has already been written.

An infographic from
Quid Corner offers guidance from author
Christopher Booker, who posits that “everything ever written boils down to seven basic
plots.” Here are a handful of enduring narratives you can use as a
storytelling springboard for your next speech:

1. “Overcoming a monster.”
This classic theme revolves around the “heartwarming story of courage and
bravery where the hero overcomes evil against all odds.” The infographic
recommends using this structure to demonstrate how you solved a major
problem at work. Your “monster” could be a productivity bottleneck, a PR
crisis or perhaps an aggressive possum that somehow sneaked into the

2. “Rags to riches.”
A young man born into poverty boldly leaves his home in search of a better
life. “You’ll never make it!” his friends chide. Struggle ensues, then the
bottom falls out. Then, just as our protagonist is about to give up, a
miraculous turn of events transpires and leads to outright victory.

Everyone loves an inspiring rags-to-riches tale. Use that winning formula
to show how you overcame humble beginnings, struggled, worked hard, then
eventually found success.

[RELATED: Learn speechwriting tips from Michelle and Barack Obama’s chief speechwriters.]

3. “Voyage and return.”
Here, “our hero journeys to new lands, defeats darkness and returns home
all the wiser.” The infographic advises using this approach to talk about a
time you left your comfort zone, and what the experience taught you.

4. “The quest.”
This motif extols the glory of teamwork. In your next speech, consider
telling a story about how your team overcame obstacles, quibbles and
disagreements to achieve success.

When it comes to storytelling, there might be nothing new under the sun,
but there’s a reason why certain plots have endured for thousands of years.
Have a look at the rest of the infographic below for more timeless wisdom.

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