Resource 11: Sharing the Stories of Others


Sharing the Stories of Others Template

Telling stories is one of the most powerful ways to engage an audience and share our experiences. In some cases, this involves spreading the message of someone else’s experience. To be both effective and ethical, stories need to be authentic representations that help the audience visualize a scene, feel the emotions, and relate to the message. They should not be an over-exaggeration or a manipulation to use someone else’s story to serve your own ends.

The following template can be used as a guide for situations where you are depicting a story or experience of another person or group (i.e. youth and other underrepresented voices). The purpose of this type of talk is to inspire the audience (rather than persuade or inform) by highlighting themes or lessons that we can learn from that story as well as your own personal relationship to that story. The key with this type of speech is to retell the story in sufficient detail while periodically stopping to synthesize lessons, takeaways, themes, or essential questions for the audience in a way that connects them.

Description Example
1. One sentence describing what we need in the world and what you care about. “Hi, my name is _________________, and today, I will be talking to you about _______. We need __________________.” I therefore personally care about ________.”
2. Describe your personal relationship to the topic/message/theme. “I have/haven’t always cared about this issue because ________________________.”
3. Explain how/why you came upon the example or story. “I came upon a useful example of _______, when I was _________________. He/she told me about__________________.”
4. Tell the story, using details about the person, what he/she said or went through, and what he/she felt. “Here is what he/she said:____________.”
5. Describe your own reaction and thought process. “When he/she told me this, my first reaction was___________________.” “It made me wonder _________________.”
6. Conclude by telling us the takeaway message, theme, or question. “What this story teaches us is ___________.”
7. Tell us why this message is significant and relevant to our lives or work and what the world would look like if we learned this lesson. “This is especially relevant to us because ______________.” “If we learned this lesson, _____________.” “Moving forward, we should ____________.”
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