TELL A COMPELLING STORY
Use the Active Voice
When telling your stories, engage
your audience’s imagination by speaking in the active
voice as much as you can. What does that mean? It means
making the characters in your story actively involved so
your audience can visualize the action.
For example, when I say, “This
book was written by Steve Lowell,” the first thing you
picture in your mind is the book. There is no action.
But when I say, “Steve Lowell wrote this book,” you
picture someone, some representation of me, writing the
book. As a speaker, you want to create action pictures
in the minds of your audience, and active voice allows
you to do that.
There are times, however, when
the passive voice is preferable. If the emphasis is
placed on something other than a person, or if the
person is unknown, passive voice can be used. “The
package was sent last week.” Notice, however, that there
is very little visual context with that statement.
Sentences in the active voice have energy and
directness, both of which will keep your audience
So, what’s the lesson? Speak in
the active voice whenever you can. It keeps your