The Greek storyteller Aesop wrote compelling fables that illustrated life lessons. Such is the tale of "The North Wind and the Sun."
The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along wrapped in a cloak.
"Let us agree," said the Sun, "that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak."
"Very well," growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the traveler.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler's body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.
Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun's rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.
The moral of the story is clear: Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.
Whether we are writing platform speeches or constructing debate cases, we too must learn the art of kind persuasion. By engaging our audience with winsome arguments, sound support, compelling stories, and even humor, we can ensure that our listeners receive our message.
You have a story to tell, and your story just might change someone's life.
In His Grace,
Amy Joy Tofte
NCFCA Director of Education
A note to parents and coaches: In his book The Greatest Salesman in the World, American author Og Mandino writes, "If you have a point, find a story." As you listen to the rough outlines of speeches and debate cases, encourage your students to find stories for their points. Need an example of effective storytelling? Just turn to the gospels and observe the greatest storyteller of all time, Jesus.
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