Tolleson, AZ (PressExposure) February 25, 2009 -- National storytelling expert and speaking coach, K. Sean Buvala, reviews Bobby Jindal's "Republican Response" speech and offers four public-speaking tips gleaned from the Governor's presentation.
Buvala, the director of the national storytelling resource site at Storyteller.net, says, "Regardless of anyone's political preferences, the Governor's speech illustrates that stories and storytelling can be used in any type of important speech. As a corporate storyteller, I was happy to see yet another national figure make use of story in their presentation. I also think that any person using stories can learn four things from Mr. Jindal's speech."
Use intentional hand gestures. Buvala says, "The Governor uses frequent, choppy hand gestures that are synchronous with the syllables of the words he speaks. It looks as if he is conducting an orchestra or cutting onions to the rhythm of his words. Speakers should plan the gestures that they will use with their stories. These intentional movements can then enhance the stories being told instead of being a distraction."
Be careful when using "Me too" stories. Mr. Buvala continues, "While I appreciate and respect the Governor's family story of struggling immigrants, his narrative immediately following his comments regarding the president's family history both lessens and distracts from the power of the Governor's background story. In order to seem less like a 'me too' attempt at connection, the story might have served better at the end of the story. While it is a good thing that the Governor used stories, the placement of those stories must be carefully considered. "
Use tone and pacing appropriate for your audience. Buvala notes that, "Bobby Jindal's pacing, tone and inflection during his speech reminded me of a school teacher giving a motivational speech to young children rather than a thoughtful reaction intended for thinking adults. The constant head nodding, the sharp intake of breath between sentences and the higher pitch of his speaking took power away from his stories, perhaps making his narratives sound childish. I'd suggest that the Governor concentrate on slowing his pace, intentionally speak with a lower pitch and allow himself to breath deeply by using longer pauses more often.
Use stories to "frame" your presentation. "Finally," says Sean Buvala, "although Mr. Jindal's family history story might have been better placed in the speech, he does refer back to his opening story at the end of his presentation, when speaking again of his father's words. This process, called 'framing,' reminds the listeners of the central point of a talk, giving them a virtual 'frame' in which to see the ideas painted with the speaker's words."
Buvala, who teaches monthly public workshops for business storytelling, knows that stories used in national conversations help unify listening audiences. "Governor Jindal's use of personal stories allows the audience to understand the speaker as a human being rather than just a 'talking head' for an ideology."
For more information about group or private coaching in the art of storytelling for corporate or business use, please contact Sean Buvala via his website at http://www.seantells.net.