Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

You’re just a story away from truly elevating your public speaking prowess. Here’s why! [Thursday: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants]

March 20, 2024

Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer dedicated to fighting poverty and racial discrimination, delivered a talk in March 2012 that earned the longest standing ovation in TED’s history. 

Stevenson delivered an 18-minute and 4,000-word talk about injustice and human rights. Throughout his presentation, he was able to keep his audience at the edge of their seats.

His talk was so moving that Stevension was able to convince his audience to donate a total of USD 1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a non-profit organization that provides legal representation to those who do not have effective representation, prisoners who were wrongly convicted, and individuals who were denied a fair trial.

It’s not easy to talk about human rights, injustice, and fair legal representation since those are sensitive topics that require complex discussions.

Even though that was the case, Stevenson was able to discuss those complex matters to his audience… and persuade them to donate to his cause.

His secret?


When asked about his March 2012 TED talk, Stevenson attributed much of its success to storytelling. According to him:

“You need data, facts, and analysis to challenge people, but you also need narrative to get people comfortable enough to care about the community that you are advocating for. Your audience needs to be willing to go with you on a journey.”

Interestingly, according to Carmine Gallo, author of “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds,” Stevenson spent 65% of his presentation telling stories.

No wonder a great majority of Stevenson’s speech contained words that appealed to his audience’s emotions!

According to Gallo, storytelling is the “ultimate tool of persuasion” since those who tell emotional and genuine stories are able to connect with their target audience in a far more meaningful way.

From a scientific point of view, Gallo’s argument holds true since it was discovered that human brains are more active when actively listening to stories.

In other words, if you truly want to win people over with your words, you need to tell them a story.

This leaves us to the next question: What are the kinds of stories that should be told to an audience?

  1. Personal stories

There’s nothing more powerful than letting other people know your story since it makes you relatable and credible in front of your audience.

Think about it: How can your audience open themselves to hearing you out if you don’t open yourself up to them?

The stories you tell can be about your successes, past mistakes, or anything else under the sun. Just make sure the tales you share are appropriate and related to your talk.

Don’t be stingy with details as well. Your story should be descriptive enough to allow your audience to put themselves in your shoes.

  1. Stories about other people

The stories you share don’t always have to be about yourself. 

Narratives about other people can be just as powerful if you share the right story to your audience.

Sharing stories about other people is also a powerful way to capture your audience’s hearts and minds. This enables you to build a connection through shared emotions. 

  1. Stories about brand success

Behind every successful brand or product is a story worth telling. 

A well-told story about success can inspire confidence among your audience. When they’re in that emotional state, they’re more willing to listen to what you have to say. This also makes it easier for you to persuade them into your line of thinking or call-to-action!

Overall, stories are meant to illuminate, inspire, and build a rapport with your audience, so make sure to keep the types of narratives we shared with you in mind!

The choice is yours to determine which type of story you’ll tell. A well-told tale is your best bet at capturing your audience’s hearts and minds.

Remember: Contemporary audiences are bombarded with messages from different sources each day. This makes them much more resistant and skeptical, making it harder to capture their attention.

To truly capture your listeners’ undivided attention, you need to give them something to relate to and root for… and that is best achieved through storytelling.

Incorporate the insights we shared with you into your public speaking strategy!

You never know, you just might be a story away from truly elevating your presentations!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”

In a meeting with one person…

… a boardroom with five people…

… or a huge venue with hundreds of people…

—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.

No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.

What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?

Every Thursday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.

The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.

(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)

Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to communicate and present well will definitely give you an edge.

Have that advantage.

Hope you find this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Special Projects
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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