Q: I am trying to incorporate personal stories into my speeches. But a voice in my head keeps asking, “Why would anyone be interested in hearing YOUR life story – or the stories of everyday people you’ve worked with? You’re not a celebrity or a politician or a famous figure. You’re not a genius and you haven’t led a life of thrills and excitement. So who’d want to pay to hear you talk about yourself?”
A: Think about the best speeches you’ve heard, and the stories those speakers told. Were they all about celebrities and famous people? I’d be willing to bet that most of them were not about renowned or brilliant or powerful individuals, but rather about everyday people who encountered conflicts that threatened to defeat them, but who found the courage to face them and overcome them.
Audiences want to hear stories about people they can relate to, who share their struggles and fears. If your audience empathizes with you (or whoever the hero of your story is), if the desire you pursue in the story is compelling, and if the conflict you faced required real courage, your audience will be riveted.