What Is a Narrative Speech?

Narrative speeches involve standing up in front of an audience and telling a story. As with a written narrative, a narrative speech should include a clear opening, middle and conclusion, and an important part of the speech is the signal that one of these sections is beginning. Ideally, a narrative speaker is able to deliver the presentation extemporaneously, with just a few notes jotted down, giving the speaker the ability to use nonverbal language to express emotional impressions freely.

One of the more challenging parts of preparing a narrative speech can be choosing a topic. Sometimes people feel that their own stories are not entertaining enough to turn into a speech, and so, the stress that already accompanies public speaking is magnified by the challenge of putting one’s own story out there for public consumption.

If the narrative is someone else’s story, as in a presentation that requires one to impersonate a historical figure, the speaker should make sure they do their research. If the speaker presents facts that are clearly not true or makes errors about details of the subject’s life, he risks losing credibility on the entire project. Careful research and organization can make any narrative come across as an extemporaneous success.