Using Anecdotes


Club project Project Analysis

Learning Objectives
  • Learning to use anecdotes and personal stories in your speech.
  • Learning the basics of storytelling to create your own stories and anecdotes.
  • Learning how the use of personal stories can create rapport with the audience and convey specific emotions.
  • Having completed the previous projects of the Basic Educational Path
May be used
Must not be used
Presentation Software
Presentation Software:
May be used
Lectern / Podium:
Must not be used
Part 1
Light Green 8 min
Light Yellow 9 min
Light Red 10 min
Light Green 5 min
Light Yellow 6 min
Light Red 7 min
Part 2
Light Green 7 min
Light Yellow 8 min
Light Red 9 min

Project Outline


This is a two-part project, to be done in two meetings (not necessarily consecutive)

  • For the first part, you need to do a Speech Analysis of a selected speech for use of anecdotes and personal stories and its effectiveness.
  • For the second part, you need to prepare and deliver a speech that has at least
    • Two anecdotes
    • A personal story

All stories share similar traits:

  • Characters that the audience can visualize and relate to. It can be you, or it can be someone else.
  • Conflict.  The characters must be confronted to some sort of conflict. Conflict can be external, in which case it can be manifested in many ways ( another person, a company, society, a disease, nature, etc.) or internal ( self-doubt, regret, remorse, loss, etc.). The conflict should either be one that the audience can directly relate to, or it should be a metaphor of one such.
  • The story must track the actions of the character, lead to a climax and provide a resolution of the conflict.Ideally, the way the resolution is achieved is what you'd like your audience to do or to avoid doing. The resolution is not necessarily positive. A bad decision by a character in the climax may result in permanent loss, for example.
  • Characters change as a result of the conflict resolution.The way the character changed is usually the benefit you want to sell the audience (or danger, if the characters changed for the worse).
  • As a result of the above elements, all stories carry a message or moral.

The beginning of the story may be disconnected from the main subject (for example, stopping a fluent speech development and just state "let me tell you a story"), but the ending must flow into the main speech fluently.


Personal anecdotes need not really be personal. Unless a story has important factual information ( educational or personal achievement, overcoming a serious disease, etc.), it's perfectly fine to use an anecdote from someone else (including one you read on the Internet) as if you yourself experienced it.

Make sure that the stories are not clichés. Some stories become so viral and abused that not only everyone knows them, but by being constantly abused by speakers they lose their value. On the other hand, widely known stories make an excellent raw material for humorous speeches if you alter the ending enough to surprise everyone.

The speech should have all the characteristics of the previous projects.  Storytelling should have a supporting and not primary role. If all that the audience can remember from your speech are your stories or anecdotes, then you've failed : the main goal is still getting your message across.

Project Description

(In Progress)

Tips and Hints


External Resources

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Contributors to this page: agora and sanbec .
Page last modified on Tuesday February 18, 2020 11:20:42 CET by agora.