The Hook of your Message


You have probably heard it said that the greatest speakers are storytellers and there is definitely some truth to that! However, it is not just telling a story that makes you an effective speaker it’s how you tell the story and how you use the story to make a connection with your audience.


World Class speakers use a method of storytelling that includes the “9 C’s Formula.” You can learn about each of these C’s in my Real U Speaking Bootcamp! For today, let’s discuss the C that keep your audience on the edge of their seats.


The 1999 Champion of Public Speaking, Craig Valentine is a master at storytelling. He reminded me that the hook for any speech is a story. It is what captures the audience’s attention the most.  And the hook for any story is the struggle ,or the conflict (one of the C’s).  The conflict, therefore, is the primary hook for your speech. So it is vital that you incorporate some conflict into your story. If your audience can relate to the specific conflict, they will buy into the solution, or the “cure” that you present.


This is why telling a story is such an effective tool as an opener and as a means to connect with your audience.  As you start your story you need to set the stage by introducing the characters and inviting the audience  into the scene. This is part of re-living the story. Immediately after you introduce your characters you need to throw them into the conflict, or problem, or dilemma they are facing.


Don’t make the mistake that most speakers make and take too long in setting the scene and wait too long before creating the conflict. You will lose your audience if you don’t create the conflict soon after the story opens.


Remember this:  “The quicker the better.”  Your job as a speaker is to establish the conflict early. But that’s not all!  World Class speakers take it one step further and escalate the conflict. This is what is commonly done in movies to keep the audience intrigued and curious. Take the movie The Titanic, for example. The conflict was created when the ship hit the iceberg, and then it escalated as the water levels increased over time intensifying the conflict.  As a speaker you need to get the conflict to a point where something has to give and a decision has to be made. This is critical if you are presenting a service, a product or a solution for a company’s problem.  Remember if your audience can’t relate to the conflict they won’t buy in to the cure.


As you craft your story intentionally seek ways to include these 2 aspects:

1)    Establish the conflict

2)    Escalate the conflict


Of the 9 C’s of effective storytelling you learned about the “C” that serves as the effective hook for your speech or message. That hook is conflict. You were briefly introduced to two other “C’s” – the Characters and the Cure. Check out the Real U Speaking Home Study Course to learn about the remaining C’s.


Whether you are sharing a testimonial, doing a presentation, or giving a motivational speech, be sure to incorporate conflict that the audience can relate to. In doing so, you will find it easier to keep your audience engaged and wanting more.


Until Next time,

Let the REAL U ……. Speak Through!


Lisa Vanderkwaak M.Sc.

Certified  World Class Speaking Coach

REAL U Institute™

“Equipping you to Communicate with Passion, Purpose and Transformational Impact”

To book Lisa to speak at your next group training or as a Keynote,  contact her at

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