Resource 9: Storytelling Speech Template


Storytelling Speech Template

The most effective and enjoyable story to tell are the ones that come from the heart. Instead of concentrating on the fact that you have to tell a story, start from a place of excitement and care: What are you really excited to share with people? What moments are special to you? What memories bring strong emotions for you, whether they be motivation, pride, shame, longing, or even regret? Don’t get in your own way by thinking about how a particular memory might be too small, too insignificant, or too boring. Instead, remember stories should be a reflection of you, not what you think others want to hear.

The following template can be used in more formal storytelling situations, where you are telling a story uninterrupted for an audience, often as a portion of a speech. As with any template, you might not need this tool; in fact, if it interferes with you being authentic, please disregard! That said, if it helps you get unstuck or get the ideas flowing, use this template to organize your ideas. Note: the sections in this template can also be placed in any order, depending on what makes sense for your speech. For additional help, watch the video example of 16-year old Matteo giving a speech on arts education.

“Personal-Universal-Application” Format

Section Description
Personal In great detail, describe a memory that symbolizes or represents an important theme, without directly mentioning the theme. “I remember a time when….” Time and place What happened What was said What it felt like What you were thinking
Universal Connect your memory to a larger theme, lesson, or question that is relevant for your audience. “I will never forget that experience because…” “That moment made me think about…” “From then on, I asked myself….” “I’m not the only one with a memory like this. Each one of us has….”
Application Give the audience a call to action, stating ways they can act on the theme you’ve described. End by connecting back to you and how you are personally applying the lessons from your story, demonstrating humility. “This idea is especially important when…” “Once we leave here today, I hope that…” “As for me, I am still…”
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