Stories Produce Feelings

Krista Ramsey, in a recent Cincinnati Enquirer article, discussed the power of stories as they relate to the Notre Dame star linebacker, Manti Te’o, and his fictional dying girlfriend narrative.

Krista Ramsey

The reason, she said, is not “…to make us believe something. It’s that they make us feel something.”  Later she writes, “Facts may convince us; stories make us notice and remember.”

This article expresses a major reason why I write several Speaker Stories a month for speakers. You may have all the facts to convince someone of your position, but making a listener feel something is the trigger that will move him or her to action.

Stories are simply narratives about a connected series of events. Thus they are easier for the speaker to remember and for the listener to pay attention to. If the story is from personal experience you will feel more confident in delivering it.

I’ve often talked to people who were in my audience years ago, and they will mention one of the stories I used in the speech they heard me deliver. They may not remember the point, but the story stuck in their minds.

We can still recall the children’s stories we listened to as preschoolers, and even as adults we love it when a speaker begins her or her version of “Once upon a time….”

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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