Here we dive deeper into one of the five elements of story structure. This one is perhaps your speech’s most important element, but it’s usually the most difficult element to communicate clearly…

Notes:

HGOMM (5 points of story structure)
Jesse Jackson speech (repeating the moral — listen for the repeated phrase, “Rocks, just layin’ around,” starting at about minute 4:40)

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Transcript:

The five components of a story HGOMM, hero or H stands for hero, G stands for goal, O stands for obstacle, the first M stands for mentor, the second M stands for moral. HGOMM, the five components of the story.

Usually the first four, the hero, the goal, the obstacle, and the mentor will be pretty clear and pretty easy for people to pick out. If they’re clear for you, the storyteller, they will generally be clear for the audience too.

But this last one, the last M, the moral, that’s a danger point because the audience is often not nearly as clear on the moral of the story as you are, you being the storyteller.

For you, the moral of the story, why you’re telling the story, what is your point, in your mind, that’s usually abundantly clear.

But for your audience, it might not be nearly as clear. They might be sitting out there listening to you tell your story and wondering what is the point of this story, why are we listening to this guy, what’s he trying to say.

With this last one, the moral of the story, it is especially important that you go the extra mile in terms of closing the gap between what’s in your head, the vision that’s in your head, and the vision that may or may not exist in the heads of your audience.

There are a couple ways that you can go about that.

One is to have a key phrase that is either your moral or is very closely related to your moral. Actually come to think of it, ideally that phrase is your moral and I’m going to link to a speech, a Jesse Jackson speech from the 1980s where he does this very well.

The second thing that you can do is you can end your story with that same key phrase. People are generally very good at remembering the last thing that comes out of your mouth. If the last thing that comes out of your mouth is the moral of the story, then when you shut up, when you stop talking, that last phrase is probably the one that they’re going to remember.

If you can combine those two techniques, that’s the best of all scenarios. That’s it for now. Thanks for listening. Talk to you later.

About Matt Krause

Matt began his professional life managing inventory levels for wholesale import companies and forecasting labor costs for national retail chains. Since 2006, he has been teaching professionals how to present themselves and their companies better. His clients work for companies like Citibank, Microsoft, 3M, P&G, and HP.