How to Connect With Your Live Keynote Audience

Using stories in public speaking

We all love stories. We love them so much we pay lots of money to go to the cinema. We relax and, “Netflix and chill.” Stories are how we connect and relate to each other. Stories bind us together.

And a speech without stories is the surest way to bore your audience.

Ever watched a speech like that? Those dry speakers with stats and pie charts. Their addresses are excruciating.

I had an English teacher who never told stories in her lectures; she could put the whole class to sleep in ten minutes.

You don’t want a sleepy audience. ining stories for your speech is one of the first tasks when tackling public speaking.

A story can be funny, compelling, self-deprecating, emotional, or shocking.

The common thread is the hero in the story. Sometimes that hero is you.

Since there are thousands of different ways to tell stories in a live speech, I want to concentrate on the simplest way to know what kinds of stories will work best with you, “type.” There are four common hero types in literature, movies, myths, and legends.

The Adventurer

The adventurer loves new things, thrills, and experiences. The location independent entrepreneur usually falls into this category. She craves newness and change.

An example in Literature might be Achilles, in movies, Indiana Jones is the closest to this archetype.

2. The Reluctant Hero

If you have a message to the universe, but you are a bit apprehensive. Usually shy, the reluctant hero gets put into a situation where they need to take action, perhaps actions they never thought possible.

If this is you, as an entrepreneur you’ve been asked to help people with problems, you’ve solved those problems, then more people have requested. Eventually, you embrace the hero role, although you never craved it.

Some examples in literature of the reluctant hero; Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings, Odysseus from the Oddysy. Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker are examples in the Cinema.

3. The Researcher/learner.

You love researching and learning new things, and when you do, you make great discoveries benefiting others. You became an entrepreneur to give this knowledge to the people who need it.


Dr. Doolittle

Isaac Newton

Willy Wonka.

4. The Leader

You’ve known you were destined for greatness, probably from an extremely early age. You see yourself changing the world, extraordinarily improving lives. You see yourself in a grand adventure, but the experience is not for thrills, it’s to change lives, to make a difference. You have a vision and wish to see it through.


William Wallace

Abraham Lincoln

Jane Goodall

JK Rowling

Florence Nightingale

Once you find your archetype, start mining your stories.

If you’re a leader;

Look for inspiring every-day stories everyone can relate to. Blend them with a bigger vision and show your audience their possibilities. Use self-deprecating humor if you feel your audience is having a hard time relating to your bigger than life personality and presence.

If you’re a reluctant hero, find surprising stories filled with emotions. Perhaps even include the circumstances surrounding your introduction to your business. Stories about how you changed your clients’ lives will suit your archetype well.

If you’re an Adventurer, tell stories of strange, unusual, horrible, or hilarious adventures. Everyone wishes they could go on at least one great adventure in life, take your audience along. Speak with compelling visual examples and emotional words. Talk about the people you met and the experiences you had.

Once you mine stories, speeches have somewhere to go; they are living and breathing, filled with emotions and connection.

Use stories in everything from live streams to all your copy. You’ll see an uptick of engagement because stories are how we relate to one another. Use your own stories to freshen your content. Use your account to connect with your audience. If you can perfect your storytelling skills, speeches are easy to write, easy to give, and, best of all, easy for your audience to listen to.

connect with your keynote.png
LeighAnn Heil