7 Reasons Why Anecdotes are the Backbone of Public Speaking

Ashish Arora
4 min readSep 13, 2022

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There is nothing more powerful than a good story. For ages, we have been sharing knowledge and connecting through narratives. As human beings, it is our instinctive nature to share our anecdotes, listen to them, and relate to them. And when you apply the same philosophy to public speaking, you can win over the audience.

Thus, here are seven reasons why you must use anecdotes and how they are the backbone of public speaking.

1. Means of Persuasion

Have you ever wondered why so many startups seek multi-million funding right from their first rounds? What is it that makes investors want to invest huge amounts of money in them? The main reason behind this is that these startups are backed by powerful stories.

Anecdotes are the strongest means of persuading people. They hit the right target and aid in fulfilling your motives.

Let’s understand this with the example of Inde Wild, a brand launched by an Indian-American woman, Diipa Khosla, that raised an investment of three million dollars in its first round. The reason behind this was its story — the anecdote of its purpose made the investors believe in its power.

2. Sets the Stage

Commencing your speech with an anecdote can help you set the stage. It indicates the vision that is going to be the basis of your performance. It ensures that a major part of the speech is already being conveyed to the audience in simpler words and concepts.

Doing so will help your audience be prepared for the entire speech and form questions of their own from the beginning.

3. Helps to Raise Awareness

One of the most important means of an anecdote is that it is the strongest means to raise awareness about a topic without beating around the bush. When a person shares a part of their personal story to make more people aware of it, it has a magnanimous impact.

For instance, when Deepika Padukone told the world about her struggle with depression and anxiety, she raised massive awareness about mental health problems. This helped her in establishing her NGO, the TLL Foundation, and created a generation of aware human beings.

4. Helps the Audience to Resonate

Imagine yourself sitting in the audience, and two people are delivering a speech on the importance of work-life balance — the first one explains it all theoretically and through data, figures, and numbers. The second one begins by telling you about his journey, how he overcame his obsession with work, gradually balanced his priorities, and how it impacted his life positively.

Which speaker would you resonate with more? Of course, it would be the second one because he/she shared a part of their journey with you. He/she made it personal, and you felt connected to it.

Thus, anecdotes can help you establish a personal connection with the audience.

5. Breaks the Ice

There is nothing worse than an audience full of sleepy heads, yawning, whispering, and cross-talking. But one of the best ways to break that ice is by talking to them, not technically, but emotionally, through stories.

Whenever there is an abrupt quietness that seems to not break itself, take your hammer of stories and shatter the silence. This will quickly refresh your audience and raise their spirits instantly.

6. Source of Inspiration

Do you know what the most amazing source of inspiration is? It’s an anecdote! Stories that inspire you from within and make you want to change from the very moment itself.

Let us understand this with the example of Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, whose famous anecdote of his life in the US Navy inspired many more people to do the same. Even though his story was all about hardships and the tough life of a navy seal, he turned out to inspire hundreds through that one anecdote.

Watch the video here -

https://youtu.be/yaQZFhrW0fU

7. Helps Easily Explain Controversial Topics

Anecdotes make people believe that what you are saying is mostly right. It helps them get emotionally attached to your viewpoints. This skill can be used to explain controversial and complex topics to the audience in detail.

For instance, if you are explaining the Moon Landing Hoax Theory, you might add how you believed in it and what things changed your perspective afterward.

Conclusion

Using anecdotes in public speaking adds stature to you as a speaker. It increases your credibility and helps the audience establish a sense of trust and faith in you. Not only does it help them remember you for a longer period, but it also makes them want to listen to you over and over again.

I hope that this article was helpful to you. Do share it on your social handles.

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Ashish Arora

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