Narrative Speech Directions

Delivery due 12/16 & 12/18

Telling Stories is an important form of communication that gives us not only enjoyment but also a way of understanding our lives. Stories organize our world, allow us to learn without suffering the “real” consequences, preserve what matters to us, entertain us while stretching our mental capacities, promote creativity, and connect each person involved in listening to the story. In all these types of stories, the underlying function is to convince the audience to accept or believe the point of our narrative. An effective speaker is one who can transform an everyday story event into a larger theme which transcends differences in geography, culture, social status, gender, and language. This is the challenge for you in this assignment.

Stories are characterized by a plot that involves characters, events, narrative tensions, and resolution. Oral stories give listeners a sense of action and drama by developing characterizations, dialogue, vivid descriptions, and using animated delivery. Emotional sincerity and involvement are hallmarks of a good storyteller.

For this assignment, you will tell a 2-3 minute story that has a moral. You may construct a story from your own experience or adapt one you already know. The purpose of your story telling is to illustrate the importance of the moral for this audience and persuade them to accept your moral. Start by thinking about why the audience might find the point of your story important or instructive. Remember that you need to choose a narrative that is appropriate for this audience and setting.

The introduction should set a context that will help the audience realize the importance of the moral for their lives. This may entail giving details of the setting or characters, setting the story in a larger context, or even telling the audience what the point of the story will be.
The story itself should be carefully constructed so that you give descriptive details, but do not ramble. Language choices, delivery techniques, and dramatic vocals must be chosen to lend interest and animation to your story. Your story should have internal coherence, with characters, plot lines, and morals that make sense to listeners.

The conclusion of your story should be carefully thought out and worded since it is your chance to leave a lasting impression with your audience. It should make the lesson or significance of the moral clear to the audience.

This speech will be graded on your ability to follow the above directions, as well as on your outline, your language choices, and your delivery (voice and body). Remember that practice makes extemporaneous speaking possible!

Your outline should be brief notes that guide you through the following information necessary to tell an effective story:

  • Title
  • Introduction of character(s) and background
  • Action(s)
  • Climax
  • Moral
  • Closing (should be a carefully worded, memorable line)