Narrative Speech Examples – PDF

narrative speech examples

  • Speech Examples
  • Informative Speech

Narrative Speeches

Basic personal narrative outline example.

personal narrative

Part 1. Brainstorming Ideas for the Narrative

  • The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  • The Lives section of The New York Times

David Becomes King Narrative Speech Outline Example

david narartive

Part 2.  Writing the Personal Narrative

Speech 101 narrative speech outline example.

samplestudentnarrativespeech outline 1

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Telling the Story of Yourself: 6 Steps to Writing Personal Narratives

Jennifer Xue

Jennifer Xue

writing personal narratives

Table of Contents

Why do we write personal narratives, 6 guidelines for writing personal narrative essays, inspiring personal narratives, examples of personal narrative essays, tell your story.

First off, you might be wondering: what is a personal narrative? In short, personal narratives are stories we tell about ourselves that focus on our growth, lessons learned, and reflections on our experiences.

From stories about inspirational figures we heard as children to any essay, article, or exercise where we're asked to express opinions on a situation, thing, or individual—personal narratives are everywhere.

According to Psychology Today, personal narratives allow authors to feel and release pains, while savouring moments of strength and resilience. Such emotions provide an avenue for both authors and readers to connect while supporting healing in the process.

That all sounds great. But when it comes to putting the words down on paper, we often end up with a list of experiences and no real structure to tie them together.

In this article, we'll discuss what a personal narrative essay is further, learn the 6 steps to writing one, and look at some examples of great personal narratives.

As readers, we're fascinated by memoirs, autobiographies, and long-form personal narrative articles, as they provide a glimpse into the authors' thought processes, ideas, and feelings. But you don't have to be writing your whole life story to create a personal narrative.

You might be a student writing an admissions essay , or be trying to tell your professional story in a cover letter. Regardless of your purpose, your narrative will focus on personal growth, reflections, and lessons.

Personal narratives help us connect with other people's stories due to their easy-to-digest format and because humans are empathising creatures.

We can better understand how others feel and think when we were told stories that allow us to see the world from their perspectives. The author's "I think" and "I feel" instantaneously become ours, as the brain doesn't know whether what we read is real or imaginary.

In her best-selling book Wired for Story, Lisa Cron explains that the human brain craves tales as it's hard-wired through evolution to learn what happens next. Since the brain doesn't know whether what you are reading is actual or not, we can register the moral of the story cognitively and affectively.

In academia, a narrative essay tells a story which is experiential, anecdotal, or personal. It allows the author to creatively express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions. Its length can be anywhere from a few paragraphs to hundreds of pages.

Outside of academia, personal narratives are known as a form of journalism or non-fiction works called "narrative journalism." Even highly prestigious publications like the New York Times and Time magazine have sections dedicated to personal narratives. The New Yorke is a magazine dedicated solely to this genre.

The New York Times holds personal narrative essay contests. The winners are selected because they:

had a clear narrative arc with a conflict and a main character who changed in some way. They artfully balanced the action of the story with reflection on what it meant to the writer. They took risks, like including dialogue or playing with punctuation, sentence structure and word choice to develop a strong voice. And, perhaps most important, they focused on a specific moment or theme – a conversation, a trip to the mall, a speech tournament, a hospital visit – instead of trying to sum up the writer’s life in 600 words.

In a nutshell, a personal narrative can cover any reflective and contemplative subject with a strong voice and a unique perspective, including uncommon private values. It's written in first person and the story encompasses a specific moment in time worthy of a discussion.

Writing a personal narrative essay involves both objectivity and subjectivity. You'll need to be objective enough to recognise the importance of an event or a situation to explore and write about. On the other hand, you must be subjective enough to inject private thoughts and feelings to make your point.

With personal narratives, you are both the muse and the creator – you have control over how your story is told. However, like any other type of writing, it comes with guidelines.

1. Write Your Personal Narrative as a Story

As a story, it must include an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, anti-climax (if any), and conclusion. Another way to approach it is by structuring it with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should set the tone, while the body should focus on the key point(s) you want to get across. The conclusion can tell the reader what lessons you have learned from the story you've just told.

2. Give Your Personal Narrative a Clear Purpose

Your narrative essay should reflect your unique perspective on life. This is a lot harder than it sounds. You need to establish your perspective, the key things you want your reader to take away, and your tone of voice. It's a good idea to have a set purpose in mind for the narrative before you start writing.

Let's say you want to write about how you manage depression without taking any medicine. This could go in any number of ways, but isolating a purpose will help you focus your writing and choose which stories to tell. Are you advocating for a holistic approach, or do you want to describe your emotional experience for people thinking of trying it?

Having this focus will allow you to put your own unique take on what you did (and didn't do, if applicable), what changed you, and the lessons learned along the way.

3. Show, Don't Tell

It's a narration, so the narrative should show readers what happened, instead of telling them. As well as being a storyteller, the author should take part as one of the characters. Keep this in mind when writing, as the way you shape your perspective can have a big impact on how your reader sees your overarching plot. Don't slip into just explaining everything that happened because it happened to you. Show your reader with action.

dialogue tags

You can check for instances of telling rather than showing with ProWritingAid. For example, instead of:

"You never let me do anything!" I cried disdainfully.
"You never let me do anything!" To this day, my mother swears that the glare I levelled at her as I spat those words out could have soured milk.

Using ProWritingAid will help you find these instances in your manuscript and edit them without spending hours trawling through your work yourself.

4. Use "I," But Don't Overuse It

You, the author, take ownership of the story, so the first person pronoun "I" is used throughout. However, you shouldn't overuse it, as it'd make it sound too self-centred and redundant.

ProWritingAid can also help you here – the Style Report will tell you if you've started too many sentences with "I", and show you how to introduce more variation in your writing.

5. Pay Attention to Tenses

Tense is key to understanding. Personal narratives mostly tell the story of events that happened in the past, so many authors choose to use the past tense. This helps separate out your current, narrating voice and your past self who you are narrating. If you're writing in the present tense, make sure that you keep it consistent throughout.

tenses in narratives

6. Make Your Conclusion Satisfying

Satisfy your readers by giving them an unforgettable closing scene. The body of the narration should build up the plot to climax. This doesn't have to be something incredible or shocking, just something that helps give an interesting take on your story.

The takeaways or the lessons learned should be written without lecturing. Whenever possible, continue to show rather than tell. Don't say what you learned, narrate what you do differently now. This will help the moral of your story shine through without being too preachy.

GoodReads is a great starting point for selecting read-worthy personal narrative books. Here are five of my favourites.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, the author of 386 books, wrote this poetic story about a daughter and her father who went owling. Instead of learning about owls, Yolen invites readers to contemplate the meaning of gentleness and hope.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. This Holocaust memoir has a strong message that such horrific events should never be repeated.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This classic is a must-read by young and old alike. It's a remarkable diary by a 13-year-old Jewish girl who hid inside a secret annexe of an old building during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1942.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This is a personal narrative written by a brave author renowned for her clarity, passion, and honesty. Didion shares how in December 2003, she lost her husband of 40 years to a massive heart attack and dealt with the acute illness of her only daughter. She speaks about grief, memories, illness, and hope.

Educated by Tara Westover

Author Tara Westover was raised by survivalist parents. She didn't go to school until 17 years of age, which later took her to Harvard and Cambridge. It's a story about the struggle for quest for knowledge and self-reinvention.

Narrative and personal narrative journalism are gaining more popularity these days. You can find distinguished personal narratives all over the web.

Curating the best of the best of personal narratives and narrative essays from all over the web. Some are award-winning articles.

Narratively

Long-form writing to celebrate humanity through storytelling. It publishes personal narrative essays written to provoke, inspire, and reflect, touching lesser-known and overlooked subjects.

Narrative Magazine

It publishes non,fiction narratives, poetry, and fiction. Among its contributors is Frank Conroy, the author of Stop-Time , a memoir that has never been out of print since 1967.

Thought Catalog

Aimed at Generation Z, it publishes personal narrative essays on self-improvement, family, friendship, romance, and others.

Personal narratives will continue to be popular as our brains are wired for stories. We love reading about others and telling stories of ourselves, as they bring satisfaction and a better understanding of the world around us.

Personal narratives make us better humans. Enjoy telling yours!

how to make a personal narrative speech

Write like a bestselling author

Love writing? ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of your stories.

Jennifer Xue is an award-winning e-book author with 2,500+ articles and 100+ e-books/reports published under her belt. She also taught 50+ college-level essay and paper writing classes. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com. Follow her on Twitter @jenxuewrites].

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How to Start a Personal Narrative

Last Updated: October 4, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Grant Faulkner, MA . Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story, a literary magazine. Grant has published two books on writing and has been published in The New York Times and Writer’s Digest. He co-hosts Write-minded, a weekly podcast on writing and publishing, and has a M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.  This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 106,760 times.

A personal narrative also called a personal essay, should engagingly tell a personal story. You may be writing a personal narrative for a college application, for a class, or your enjoyment. A good personal narrative will entertain the reader and offer insight into an idea or theme. To get started on a personal narrative, choose a story idea, and structure the essay so you know where you’re headed. Then, craft a strong opening for the narrative to draw your reader in.

Choosing a Story Idea for the Narrative

Step 1 Think of a meaningful event in your life.

  • Choose an event that feels full of meaning and significance to you personally. These events usually make the best story ideas for a personal narrative.
  • For example, if your narrative focuses on your intended career path as a teacher, you could write a narrative about how a youth coaching experience showed you the importance of making a positive impact on children.
  • Alternatively, if you’re writing about how you came to choose a college major in medical science, your narrative could focus on a wonderful volunteer experience you had as a child that made you want to help other people.

Step 2 Pick a personal story with a moral or lesson.

  • For instance, you may pick an experience where you lost an important match, only to learn the value of failing and do better. Or you may choose an experience where you made a moral decision to help someone, which then leads to positive outcomes for you and the person.

Step 3 Focus on an idea that fits a theme.

  • For example, you may choose a theme like love and use it to explore your experience of love growing up in a family with two fathers. Or you may choose a theme like freedom and use to explore your struggles with freedom as a refugee.

Grant Faulkner, MA

Structuring the Narrative

Step 1 Use the first-person voice.

  • You may need to use a mixture of tenses throughout the narrative. For instance, the answer to the prompt or the narrative you discuss may be written in the present tense, while an anecdote or narration of a story may be written in the past tense, as it has already happened.

Step 2 Have a thesis statement.

  • The thesis statement in a narrative essay can explore the events of the story in a brief way. Or it can tell the reader about the moral or lesson learned through the personal experience. You can also present the main theme in the essay in the thesis statement.
  • For example, if you are writing an essay about your personal experience as a refugee, you may have a thesis statement that presents the theme of freedom. You may write, “My journey is just one of many. We all came to a new country carrying nothing more than hope and memories of the past.”

Step 3 Include supporting body paragraphs.

  • For example, you may have three supporting body paragraphs where you tell your narrative based on the theme of your essay. You may start with your experience of “freedom” in your home country in the first paragraph, followed by your experience of the same theme in your new country in the second paragraph.

Step 4 End with the moral of the narrative.

  • For example, you may end the essay by stating the lesson or moral you learned from the personal experience. Or you may note how the experience has positively affected your life now.

Creating a Strong Opening for the Narrative

Step 1 Start with a hook.

  • The hook is usually not longer than 1 to 2 sentences. It starts your introductory paragraph and can take the form of a scene, question, interesting fact or statement, or even an anecdote.

Step 2 Set the scene to offer specific details and strong imagery.

  • For example, you may wish, “I huddled under my Disney Princess bed cover as my father banged on my bedroom door. As I listened to his muffled screams, I wondered if it was possible to simply disappear, away from my lonely home life and my failing high school grades.”

Step 3 Pose a question if you want to get the reader thinking.

  • For example, you may start with a question like, “Have you ever wondered how it might feel to leave your home forever?” or “Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own country?”

Step 4 Use an interesting fact to connect to your personal experiences.

  • For example, you may start with an interesting fact about lawnmowers if your narrative is about how mowing lawns as a kid taught you the value of hard work. Or you may choose a funny statement about winning and losing if your essay is about learning how to accept failure.

Step 5 Start with an anecdote to connect to the larger theme or story.

  • For example, if you are writing about learning how to accept failure, you may start with an anecdote about your father telling you not to lose a softball game as a kid.
  • Or if you are writing about your personal experiences as a refugee, you may use an anecdote on a moment of acceptance you experienced in your new country.

Expert Q&A

Grant Faulkner, MA

  • Don’t forget to revise your essay and make any necessary changes! Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to make a personal narrative speech

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  • ↑ http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules-and-tips/tips-for-writing-a-personal-narrative-essay.html
  • ↑ https://www.kibin.com/essay-writing-blog/how-to-start-a-narrative-essay/
  • ↑ Grant Faulkner, MA. Professional Writer. Expert Interview. 8 January 2019.
  • ↑ http://www.artsyqr.com/crafting-a-personal-narrative-essay-starting-out/

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Examples of narrative speech topics

125 strong ideas for effective personal storytelling speeches

By:  Susan Dugdale   | Last modified: 12-01-2022

Narrative speech topics are topics especially designed to trigger telling a story.

And who doesn’t love being told a good story? They’re universally appreciated. It’s the oldest, most effective way of emphasizing a point, illustrating an idea or recounting an event.

For as long as there have been people in the world, there have been people telling them stories: story tellers.

What's on this page:

  • 125 examples of narrative speech topics: -  40 'first' experiences , -  40 tell-a-story topics , -  35 personal story ideas  
  • How to best use this page

Choosing the right narrative speech topic

  • How to get from topic to speech (with a printable speech outline to download)

A definition of the word 'narrative'

A personal story is a powerful story, the difference between an anecdote and a story.

  • Additional resources for storytelling speeches

Chalk board with writing in white chalk: What's your story? 125 narrative speech topics.

How to make best use of this page

Browse the topics and make a shortlist of any that appeal to you. (These are the ones that will immediately have you thinking of stories you could share.)

Make sure you download the printable narrative speech outline. Then take what  you need from the other information. (If you've never given a narrative or storytelling speech before, read all of it!) It's here to help you put together the best speech you possibly can. ☺

Return to top

The most powerful stories to tell are personal. They’re the game changers, the significant events: meetings, accidents, cultural jolts, and life lessons that have made an impact.

They’re stories about family, our children, love, marriage, politics, education, work, living in society, philosophy, the natural world, ...

In telling these stories we reveal aspects of ourselves: sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings.

To give a good narrative speech, one that fully engages our audience we need to:

  • choose a meaningful story with strong characters they can relate to in a situation they’ll recognize and identify with
  • use vivid language enabling them to easily picture and feel what’s happening

A spoken or written account of connected events; a story: "a gripping narrative"

Word with similar meanings: account, story, tale, chronicle, history, description, record.

(Definition from Oxford Languages )

Because narrative speeches are often stories about ourselves we need to think carefully about what we share and with whom.

Some subjects are sensitive for many reasons. And what could be completely appropriate in one setting could be quite wrong in another.

As the giver of the speech, you’ll want to be clear about what you’re sharing and why.

Additionally, an emotional narrative speech exposing your own deeply felt and unresolved issues would be difficult for an audience to witness.

They’d want to help, send you to a therapist, leave... People do not want to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable on your behalf.

The right narrative topic idea is one you know your audience will want to hear, fits the speech purpose you’ve been given, and one you feel comfortable sharing.

Should you decide to use someone else's story for your speech be sure to acknowledge whose it is and where you got it from.

Getting from topic to speech

Once you’ve decided on your topic, the next step is developing a story outline. That involves carefully thinking through the sequence of the story, or what you’re going put in it, scene by scene and why, from beginning to end.

To help you do that easily I've put together a printable narrative speech outline. To download it click on the image below. (The pdf will open in a new window.)

Chalkboard with text: download printable narrative speech outline

The outline will guide you through each of the steps you need to complete. (Instructions are included.)

Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal 

Once your outline is done, your next task is rehearsing, and then rehearsing some more. You’ll want to know before you give the speech that it:

  • makes sense and can be followed easily,
  • grabs and holds the audience’s attention, is relevant to them,
  • and easily fits the time you’ve been given.

Rehearsal lets you find out in a safe way where any glitches might be lurking and gives you an opportunity to fix them.

It also gives you time to really work at refining how you tell the story.

For instance, what happens if this part is said softly and slowly? Or if this bit is delivered more quickly, and that has a long pause after it?

And what about your body language? Are you conscious of what you’re actually doing as you speak? Do you ‘show’ with your body and how you use your voice, as well as ‘tell’ with your words?

The way you tell a story makes an enormous difference to how it is received. A good story can be ruined by poor delivery. If you make the time to practice, that’s largely avoidable.

  • For more on how to rehearse – a step by step guide to rehearsing well
  • For more on the vocal aspects of speech delivery
  • For more on developing effective body language

Many people share an anecdote thinking they’re telling a story. They’re not. Although they have similarities, they are different.

Drawing of a girl wearing a red dress. Text: Anecdote v story: the difference. Last night in the bar there was a girl wearing a red dress.

An anecdote is a series of facts, a brief account of something that happened. It is delivered without interpretation or reflection. It’s a snapshot cut from a continuum: a slice of life. We’ve taken notice because it was interesting, strange, sad, amusing, attractive, eccentric...to us. It captured our attention in some way.

For example:

"Last night there was a gorgeous girl in the bar wearing a red dress. She ordered a brandy. After she finished her drink, she left."

In contrast, a story develops. It travels from its starting place, goes somewhere else where something happens, and finally arrives at a destination. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. It moves. Things change.

Here’s the same anecdote example reworked as a very brief story. The person telling it is reminiscing, talking about the past to girl called Amy.

"Last night there was a girl in the bar wearing a red dress—so young, so gorgeous, so full of life. Seeing her whirled me back to us. You and me and that song. Our song: Lady in Red. “The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek. There's nobody here, it's just you and me. It's where I want to be.”

The complete and abrupt shift from present to past overwhelmed me. Thoughts, feelings, memories... At twenty-five and twenty-six we knew it all and had it all.

When I looked up, she’d finished her drink and gone. Oh, Amy! What did we do?"

Narrative speech topic ideas: 40 firsts

Often the first time we experience something creates deep lasting memories. These can be both very good and very bad which makes them an excellent foundation for a gripping speech.

We love listening to other people’s dramas, especially when they’ve gone through something significant and come out the other side strengthened – armed with new knowledge.

Child with a thermometer in her mouth tucked up in a hospital bed.

  • The first time I stood up for myself.
  • The first time I drove a car.
  • The first time I rode a bike.
  • The first time I fell in love.
  • The first time I felt truly frightened.
  • The first time I realised my family was different.
  • The first time I understood I was different from other kids.
  • My first day at a new school.
  • The first time I felt truly proud of myself.
  • My first date.
  • My first job interview.
  • The first time I realised no matter how hard I tried I was never going to please, or be liked, by everybody.
  • How I got my first paid job.
  • What I did with my first pay.
  • My first pet.
  • My first real fight- what it was about, and what I learned from it.
  • The first time I tried hard to achieve something and failed.
  • The first time I realised some people are not to be trusted.
  • The first time I was away from home on my own.
  • The first time I had to ask a stranger for help.
  • The first time I experienced what it’s like to have someone close be either seriously ill or die
  • The first time I was ill and was taken to hospital.
  • The first time I felt utterly filled with happiness.
  • The first time I was sincerely impressed and influenced by another person’s goodness.
  • My first pin up hero.
  • My childhood home – what I remember – the feelings and events I associate with it.
  • The first time I realised the color of my skin, or the shape of my body, or my face, or my gender, or anything else about me, made a difference.
  • The first time I tried to communicate with someone who did not speak my language.
  • The first time I saw snow, the sea, climbed a mountain, camped out under the stars, walked a wilderness trail, caught a wave...
  • The first time I visited another country where the language, customs and beliefs were vastly different to my own.
  • The first time I understood and experienced the power of kindness.
  • The first time I told a lie.
  • The first time I understood how fortunate I was to be me.
  • The first time I realised my goals and aspirations were attainable.
  • The first time I realised having enough money to do whatever I wanted could not buy happiness.
  • The first time I realised that some people were always going to be better at some things that I was.
  • The first TV show/film/book I loved and why.
  • The first time I really understood I was prejudiced.
  • The first time someone stepped up for me – what that felt like, and what it changed.
  • How first impressions of people and/or an event are not always right.

40 tell-a-story speech topics

Here's another 40 narrative speech suggestions. Give yourself time as go through them to consider suitability of the stories they trigger. Would what you're thinking of suit your audience? Does it fit your overall speech purpose?

Watercolor painting of a tree covered with US monetary notes.

  • How I learned to stand up for my own beliefs.
  • How my name influenced who I am.
  • My favorite teacher – why, what did they do? How did that make you feel?
  • When and how I learned being adult does not mean being grown up.
  • Why winning is important to me.
  • What terrified me as a child.
  • How I learned to manage my anger.
  • What people regularly assume about me and how that makes me feel.
  • How having an animal to love made me a better human being.
  • How humor defuses tension.
  • What it feels like to rebel against authority, and why I do it.
  • My learning break through.
  • How I discovered what meant the most to me.
  • How I learned my family was poor, rich, odd, ...
  • When I fully realized the importance and power of community.
  • What I learned through living through my parent’s divorce.
  • My experience of being an outsider.
  • My favorite way to unwind.
  • A decision I made that I now regret and why.
  • How goal setting has helped me achieve.
  • My safe place.
  • What being unfairly punished taught me about myself.
  • Rituals that serve me well. For example, always cleaning my teeth a particular way, always sorting my clothes out for the following day before I go to bed, always making Christmas presents for my family, ...
  • What money means to me and why.
  • How being a parent fundamentally changed me,
  • What being the underdog taught me.
  • Why I chose my own path, and not the one my parents wanted for me,
  • Why family celebrations are important to me.
  • Why I adopted a child.
  • What religion means to me.
  • What marriage, friendship,... means to me.
  • What needing to be helped has taught me.
  • Why and how I support giving back to the community.
  • Tricks I use to get myself to do things I know I should do but don’t really want to.
  • What I do to manage fear or anxiety of public speaking.
  • How I learned to stop biting my finger nails or stop some other behaviour driven by nervous anxiety.
  • How I learned to stop feeling like my job in life was to make my parents or anybody else feel happy.
  • What having a job as a young person taught me.
  • The complications of being the favorite child in your family.
  • The difficulties of having to choose between friends.

35 more narrative or personal story speech topics

Illustration of man walking a tightrope over a ravine.

  • The time I made an assumption about a situation or a person and got it entirely wrong.
  • What being totally and suddenly out of my depth in a situation felt like and the consequences.
  • A lesson I learned the hard way that helped me become a better person. For example: over spending, driving too fast, drinking too much, being caught out in a lie...
  • Important things I learned through keeping old people company.
  • What I learned through losing a good friend
  • What coming face to face with my own mortality taught me.
  • How the language of kindness transcends language and cultural differences.
  • What being ashamed of my own behaviour taught me.
  • How I unknowingly broke local cultural customs while overseas and what happened
  • How taking revenge for a wrong did not right it.
  • The silliest unnecessary risk I’ve taken.
  • How first impressions are not always right.
  • How pretending to be strong (fake it until you make it) can work very well.
  • What I really wanted my parents to do for me and they didn’t.
  • How our clothing influences how other people perceive us.
  • My earliest memories: what they were, how they made me feel.
  • Why I became disillusioned about politics.
  • Why I decided to go into politics.
  • The influence of music on my life.
  • A personal phobia and how it impacts on my life: fear of spiders, fear of the dark, fear of thunder...
  • The impact of peer pressure on decision making.
  • What I’ve learned about gratitude.
  • How I lied in order to cover for a friend and what happened.
  • My most embarrassing moment and how I survived it.
  • The worst day of my life: what it taught me.
  • How I know peer pressure can make us behave in ways we don’t really want to.
  • How I learned to read people.
  • Why saying thank you is important.
  • Random acts of kindness and generosity.
  • Being lost in a strange city.
  • What I learned through genuinely apologizing for something I did.
  • How the way a person speaks influences what we think about them.
  • How a mentor changed my life.
  • The most thrilling exciting thing I’ve done.
  • How being a leader and being looked up to felt.

Other resources for narrative speeches

Pages on this site:

  • 60 vocal variety and body language speech topics - speech ideas to encourage excellent storytelling
  • Storytelling setups: what works & why - How to open or lead into a story
  • How to effectively use a small story as part of a speech    
  • Tips and exercises for working with and improving body language
  • Simple characterization techniques for compelling storytelling
  • 9 aspects of vocal delivery - explanations, tips and exercises to improve your voice
  • How to rehearse well - step by step guidance 

Offsite storytelling speech resources

  • 5 creative storytelling projects recommended by teachers, for everyone | (ted.com)

Toastmasters Project | Connect with storytelling – Level Three 

  • Connect with Storytelling – District One (district1toastmasters.org)
  • 8300-Connect-with-Storytelling.pdf (toastmasters-lightning.org)

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how to make a personal narrative speech

Freetestpractices

A Complete Guide to Personal Narrative Speech – Examples, Outline and Topics.

Being able to deliver a Good narrative speech is an important language and conversational skill and in this post you’ll learn exactly how to write and deliver a Narrative speech that hooks your listeners.

Narrative Speech 

A speech in which we describe or narrate about your own experiences is called a Narrative Speech. It is written and delivered from the narrator or the Speaker’s point of view.

How to write a narrative Speech ?

  • Brainstorm about Your Topic.
  • Know your audience .
  • Prepare the Outline of your speech.
  • Write the Content .
  • Proof- read and rehearse.

How to write a narrative speech.

Brainstorm about Topics –

It is beneficial to be clear about the topic on which you are going to give the speech. Get some good quotes and gather some raw data related to the topic.

Know your audience –

You should write a speech that your audience can relate to.

Prepare the Outline of your speech –

It is one of the most important parts of writing a good Speech, So I have written about this in DETAIL below !

Personal narrative Speech Outline 

Outlining your personal Narrative speech is very crucial and This is how You should do it –

Attention grabbing Introduction – 

Step 1 – Your Introduction should have the power of driving the audience’s attention towards you. You can write such attention-getting Introductions with the help of some great quotations, light jokes, stories or  anything that could get the attention of your listeners.

A clear and Interactive Body –

Step 2 – Body is the Longest part of a speech and It should be written in a clear and easy to understand language to maintain the interest of the audience in your speech. If you mention your exact emotions and could anyhow establish a connection with your audience, It would make your speech highly engaging and enjoyable.

A Conclusion with a message –

Step 3 –  Write a Conclusion that is short and to the point. It should give a message and be able to give a sense of closure to your speech.

Based On this outline , A sample Narrative speech is written below 👇

Personal narrative Speech examples 

Importance of Gratitude 

Introduction –

They say that “blood is thicker than water”, which implies that the bonds we share with family are stronger than those we share with friends. But let’s not forget, we can’t live without blood, but we’ll die without water too.

I’m sure we all have at least one person we consider as our best friend, and I’m willing to bet that a lot of us haven’t expressed ; how much we care for our best friends lately.

Narrative speech Introduction

It’s important to show your gratitude and love to your friends, because it might be your last chance.

Let me take you back, thousands of miles to the east of this continent, 4 years ago, when I once took for granted all my closest friends’ presence, even though I knew it would be the last time I would see them.

Sometimes, the longer you’ve been friends with someone, the easier it is to forget to appreciate them .

A. It was September 15, 2007, in Quezon City, Philippines.

1. I was at the young age of 17, born and raised in this city, the only life I knew. 2. I had a flight in five hours, but I had refused to pack up for my 16-hour intercontinental flight until the night before. 3. I had five best friends back then (I didn’t believe that you could only have one), and we named our little group “Chrisannielle”, which is a combination of all our names. 4. Chrisannielle came over to my house for a last home cooked feast together. (mmm the smell of that delicious food, I still remember it.) 5. I didn’t want this day to be too dramatic, so I did my best to act as if it’s just an ordinary day. 6. Like the good friends that they are, they helped me finish the rest of my packing .

B. Our last ride together on the way to the airport was pleasant, but controlled.

1. For reasons I don’t fully understand, I made a decision to make sure that this parting didn’t become a teary, “movie-worthy” goodbye. 2. I didn’t tell them how much I would miss them, how much I cared,and how much I wished so badly that I didn’t have to leave. 3. We hugged and kissed and said proper goodbyes, but for the most part, I did my best to not make a big deal out of it. 4. I promised to email, to write letters, to call regularly – I said these things to justify not giving them a “movie-worthy” goodbye.

It was my first time riding on a plane by myself.

1. I looked inside my carry on just to see what was in there and found a scrapbook that my sneaky best friends secretly stashed in there. 2. It contained pictures of all of us, of all the years we’ve grown together and the wonderful, irreplaceable times spent with each other. 3. At that moment, the “fasten your seat belts” light turned on, and I felt a deep sense of regret and sadness, because I didn’t tell them, and didn’t expressed how much they all meant to me.

Narrative Speech - Body.

Conclusion –

I knew that it was the last time I’ll be seeing my friends, and yet I managed to still not tell them how much I loved all of them.

1. It might have been my pride or my preoccupation with the long journey traveling alone or something else. I don’t know. 2. And yes, one could argue that distance doesn’t matter, friends will be friends no matter how long it’s been, and that there is technology to bring us together. 3. But there’s nothing quite like a real hug, and seeing a smile in person.No amount of cute emoticons in an email can substitute… 4. I learned that it is important to show gratitude and love to your friends, because it might be your last chance.

So it was September 15, 2007, in San Francisco, California, 16 hours after those last hugs, and I was alone.

Narrative Speech Conclusion.

Credits for this Speech – Ohlone.edu

Personal Narrative speech Topics 

Narrative Speech Topics

Personal Narrative Speech Topics list –

  • My first Day at High school.
  • A near Death experience.
  • A ruined Holiday plan.
  • Trekking trip with the whole family.
  • Best Birthday Gift.
  • A surprise party for Mom.
  • Topped in an Important test.
  • Won the city marathon.
  • Darkest Day of my life.
  • Farewell party for my favorite Teacher.
  • Terrible accident while learning to swim.
  • A wholesome picnic with family. 
  • My first foreign trip.
  • Night out with Friends.
  • Watched a baseball match in the stadium.
  • Best 4th July celebration.
  • Saw a man dying in front of my eyes.
  • My first date .
  • Experienced a Deadly Typhoon .
  • An embarrassing incident at MacDonald’s .

These were just some sample Topics. You can find very interesting Personal Narrative speech Topics just by thinking about the special moments of your Life that you would like to describe in words . 

Types Of Personal Narrative speech

Narrative speeches can be written on many different Topics but They are broadly categorized in these 3 types –

  • Experiences – This is the most popular type of narrative Speech in which you describe your feelings and emotions to a certain situation. Like :- your experience when you got lost once, Your experience of seeing a man die in front of you, etc.
  • Life Lessons – It is the type of narrative Speech where you describe about certain incident that changed your perception or gave you a strong lesson. Like – The lessons you learnt when you failed in all subjects, The lesson you learned from a stranger’s act of kindness, etc.
  • Events – In This type of Narrative speech, you describe about some memorable events of your life Like – Your first day in a new School, Your first date, etc.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Read more – Commemorative speech ( Examples and Outline )

Related posts:

  • Everything about Commemorative Speech – Examples, Outline and Topics list.

How to write a Good Graduation Speech (Top 7 tips)

  • Short Highschool Graduation Speech Examples (2023 Updated)

How to Write a Valedictorian Speech: Examples and Ideas for 2023

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Literacy Ideas

Personal Narrative Writing Guide

How to write a personal narrative

WHAT IS A PERSONAL NARRATIVE?

Personal Narrative | personal narrative writing28129 1 | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

A Personal Narrative recounts an event or experience from the writer’s life in story form and often in intimate detail. This text type not only relates to the events happening around the author but also often reveals the writer’s inner thoughts and emotions also.

A personal narrative can be understood as nonfiction storytelling based on the writer’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Told in the first person, the writer draws on their life events to construct a story.

Combining elements of nonfiction recount writing with introspection and the frequent use of literary devices more commonly associated with fiction and poetry, a personal narrative can be best understood as a type of creative nonfiction .

PERSONAL NARRATIVE VERSUS A PERSONAL RECOUNT: SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Personal narratives are also frequently referred to as personal recounts. They share much in common but are unique text types, so let’s explore how they compare and contrast.

When we first instruct our students to write stories based on the events of their own lives, they will inevitably write simple recounts. These recounts are based on retelling personal incidents of their lives but lack the depth we can typically expect to find in a personal narrative.

While personal narratives also recount events from the writer’s life, with greater emphasis placed on exploring the writer’s thoughts and feelings on these events rather than just what happened.

A personal narrative is a means for the writer to explore the meaning of the events in their life. It is, at its core, an introspective and creative endeavor that focuses as much on the interior life of the writer as it does on external events.

Visual Writing Prompts

While the conclusion of a traditional recount usually provides some of the writer’s insights, in a personal narrative, these are woven throughout the text.

STRUCTURE AND FEATURES OF A PERSONAL NARRATIVE

Personal narrative structure.

ORIENTATION Explain the who, what, when, and where of the experience in your introduction to your audience.

FOCUS Mainly focus on meaningful events.

CHRONOLOGY Events are described in the sequence in which they occurred.

ORGANIZATION Relevant information is organized into paragraphs

INSIGHT & MEANING Include personal comments, opinions or interpretations of the experience or event in your personal narrative.

PERSONAL NARRATIVE FEATURES

TENSE The first and third person are used most frequently and recall is always written in the past tense. Present tense can be used for analysis and opinion.

NOUNS Use proper nouns to refer to specific people, places times and events

VOICE Both active and passive voice are used in recounts. Use these to express your emotions and thinking clearly.

CONNECTIVES Use conjunctions and connectives to link events and indicate time sequence in your personal narrative.

A COMPLETE TEACHING UNIT ON PERSONAL NARRATIVE WRITING

Personal Narrative | personal narrative writing unit 1 | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to write AMAZING PERSONAL NARRATIVES using a proven model of research skills, writing strategies and engaging content. ALL CONTENT, RESOURCES AND ASSESSMENT TOOLS INCLUDED covering.

Download this COMPLETE 85 PAGE UNIT today. NO PREPARATION REQUIRED.

HOW LONG SHOULD A PERSONAL NARRATIVE BE?

The personal narrative is a modern text type and therefore has no traditionally defined optimum length, and we can find texts ranging from a couple of hundred words to a multi-volume series in this genre. 

However, for our students, this text type can be thought of in terms of length as similar to an essay. Like an essay, the text needs to be long enough to comprehensively answer the question, prompt, or the event/experience the student is retelling.

David Sedaris, the American writer and one of the best-known writers of humorous personal narratives, has written many books that could accurately be classified in this genre.

While these full-length books are often built around a loose theme, each chapter could stand alone as a personal narrative essay in its own right, each built around a single identifiable experience or event. 

As with an essay, the length of a personal narrative can be based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Age and ability of the students
  • Specifics of the question or writing prompt
  • Any limitation imposed by a word count
  • The complexity of the event/experience being written about.

Regardless of length, given its structural similarity with the essay, personal narratives usually follow a basic three-part structure.

HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL NARRATIVE STEP-BY-STEP

We mentioned previously that this text type is relatively modern, so there aren’t many fixed rules concerning structure. That said, we can usually identify three distinct parts of a personal narrative corresponding to the three parts outlined in the hamburger essay or the 5-paragraph essay format. These are:

Personal Narrative | 5 paragraph essay3Dburger | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

  • The introduction
  • The body paragraphs
  • The conclusion

If you want an in-depth guide to this format, check out our comprehensive article here . But, for now, let’s take a brief look at the purpose of each section as it relates to a personal narrative.

WRITING THE INTRODUCTION OF A PERSONAL NARRATIVE

Personal Narrative | personal narrative writing28329 768x576 1 | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

The introduction of a personal narrative performs several functions. 

1: It hooks the Reader

The first job of the introduction is to ‘hook’ the reader. If we can’t catch the reader’s interest initially, there will be no middle or end for the reader. A strong hook is needed at the very outset, and it can take several forms. 

Some effective hooks to open a personal narrative with include:

  • A bold claim
  • An interesting anecdote
  • A fascinating fact or revealing statistic
  • A compelling quotation

Whichever technique the student chooses to open their narrative with, they should ensure it is relevant to the subject matter explored, whether it focuses on external or internal events or experiences or a mixture of both. 

2: It orients the Reader

Like many other nonfiction and fiction text types, the opening paragraph (or paragraphs) will also orient the reader by answering some basic questions such as:

  • What is the text about?
  • Who is in this story?
  • Where is it set?
  • When do the events or experiences occur?

While it may also hint at why these events or experiences matter, a detailed answer to the why of a personal narrative may be saved for the text’s conclusion.

This section of the personal narrative can also be thought of as The Exposition .

3: It Sets the Tone

The introduction reveals not only what the text will be about but also how the writer (and, by extension, the reader) will treat the topic. This is the tone.

For example, a more sombre tone has been established where the language used is serious and formal. In this instance, the reader will adopt a more serious approach to the work.

On the other hand, if the treatment of the event or experience is humorous, this will be apparent in the language choices the writer makes and the mood they establish. Going forward, the reader can reasonably expect to be amused by what’s to come in the text.

THE BODY PARAGRAPHS OF A PERSONAL NARRATIVE

The body paragraphs of a personal narrative comprise the bulk of the text. 

As with any type of recount, this section will generally focus on the chronological retelling of an event or experience. 

However, there is another significant difference between this type of recount and the other types.’ The root of this difference can be found in the word ‘narrative’.

While the body paragraphs of a personal narrative can make use of some of the defining characteristics of more traditional types of recount, if the introduction acts as the exposition of the setting and character of the story, the body paragraphs move the text along its story arc.

Though we will cover the main elements briefly, structuring a story is an art in itself and if you want to find out more about it, check out our detailed article on the subject here.

Also, if you want to learn more about the structure of general recounts, find out more here .

While we’ve seen that the introduction of a personal narrative corresponds to a story’s exposition, the following elements of a story arc can be found in the text’s body.

1: The Problem

The problem or conflict is an essential ingredient in any story worth the name. It creates the story’s focal point, ignites the reader’s interest, and drives the story forward. In a personal narrative, this problem can be internal or external, however, there is often an emphasis placed on how the issues affect the writer psychologically.  2: The Rising Action  

As the narrative develops, the dramatic tension will tend to increase. The main problem will intensify, or the writer may introduce additional more minor problems to amp things up. 3: The Climax

This is where the story reaches its dramatic high point. In the case of a personal narrative where the conflict or problem is psychological, this drama and its climax may play out internally.

WRITING THE CONCLUSION OF YOUR PERSONAL NARRATIVE ESSAY

Personal Narrative | personal narrative writing28429 1 | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

This third and final section of the personal narrative performs a slightly different function to a regular essay’s conclusion. 

While the conclusions of most nonfiction text types focus on restating a central thesis and/or providing a summary of arguments, the conclusion in a personal narrative follows a story’s final section more closely. 

That is, it usually contains the story’s falling action and resolution.

Let’s take a quick look at each.

1: The Falling Action

The story arc dips in dramatic tension after the dramatic high point of the climax. As personal narratives often focus on ‘internal’ events, this ‘action’ can also occur internally. 2: Resolution

The resolution marks the end of the story, and in this text type, it usually involves some personal change in circumstances or transformation. It can also take the form of a lesson learned or new knowledge attained.

TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT PERSONAL NARRATIVE ESSAY

  • Begin with a clear and compelling story: Your personal narrative essay should focus on a significant event or experience in your life that you want to share with the reader.
  • Write in the first person perspective: Use “I” statements to describe your experiences and thoughts and take us inside your mind.
  • Be descriptive: To bring your story to life, use descriptive language to paint a picture of the sights, sounds, and emotions of your experience.
  • Focus on what matters the most: Tell a powerful story with just a few key details. When writing your personal narrative, focus on the most impactful events and thoughts that help convey your message.
  • Emphasize the impact the experience had upon you: Leave the reader with a clear understanding of the impact that the experience had on your life.
  • Be true to yourself: Ensure your personal narrative essay is honest and genuine in your descriptions and reflections.
  • Deliver a powerful ending: The conclusion should summarize the major points of your essay and leave the reader with a lasting impression.
  • Review and Revise: Don’t be afraid to proofread your essay several times to ensure it is the best it can be.

Personal Narrative | LITERACY IDEAS FRONT PAGE 1 | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

PERSONAL NARRATIVE TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES

PERSONAL NARRATIVE PRACTICE EXERCISE: ACTIVITY 1

  • Organise your students into small groups of four or five
  • Provide each group with a selection of personal recounts
  • Can the students identify how each sample text attempts to hook the reader in the opening paragraph?
  • How effectively does the introduction of each text orient the reader?
  • What is the tone of the text? How has this tone been created?

PERSONAL NARRATIVE PRACTICE EXERCISE: ACTIVITY 2

In their groups, with their sample personal narrative texts, ask students to identify how the writer deals with each element as listed below and discuss how effectively they have done so.

  • The Problem
  • The Rising Action

PERSONAL NARRATIVE PRACTICE EXERCISE: ACTIVITY 3

Now students understand how to structure and write each stage of their personal narrative, encourage them to spend some time brainstorming events and experiences from their lives that could serve as the topic for their writing.

When they have chosen a suitable topic, instruct them to begin planning the writing of their text using the categories listed above. They might even wish to create a simple graphic organizer to help. 

For example:

Introduction

  • What is the opening hook?

Body Paragraphs

  • What is the central problem?
  • What happens in the rising action?
  • How does the climax play out?
  • What happens in the falling action?
  • What is the resolution of the story?

Once students have their narrative adequately planned, it’s time to get them writing earnestly to put all that theory into practice.

PERSONAL NARRATIVE WRITING TEMPLATE / GRAPHIC ORGANIZER

Personal Narrative | perosnal narrative graphic organizer 1 | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

PERSONAL NARRATIVE WRITING EXAMPLES

Personal Narrative | img 610a32004d4a4 1 | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

VIDEO TUTORIAL ON PERSONAL NARRATIVE WRITING

Personal Narrative | YOUTUBE 1280 x 720 13 | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

NARRATIVE WRITING CHECKLIST BUNDLE

Personal Narrative | WRITING CHECKLISTS | Personal Narrative Writing Guide | literacyideas.com

RELEVANT ARTICLES

Personal Narrative | how to write a recount | How to Write a Recount Text (And Improve your Writing Skills) | literacyideas.com

How to Write a Recount Text (And Improve your Writing Skills)

Personal Narrative | historical recount writing | How to Write a Historical Recount Text | literacyideas.com

How to Write a Historical Recount Text

Personal Narrative | teaching recount writing | 5 Easy Recount Writing Lesson Plans students love. | literacyideas.com

5 Easy Recount Writing Lesson Plans students love.

Personal Narrative | download | 15 Awesome Recount & Personal Narrative Topics | literacyideas.com

15 Awesome Recount & Personal Narrative Topics

The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

how to make a personal narrative speech

Explore our Teaching Unit on PERSONAL NARRATIVES

How to Write a Personal Narrative

Hero Images/Getty Images

  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

The personal narrative essay can be the most enjoyable type of assignment to write because it provides you with an opportunity to share a meaningful event from your life. After all, how often do you get to tell funny stories or brag about a great experience and receive school credit for it?

Think of a Memorable Event 

A personal narrative can focus on any event, whether it is one that lasted a few seconds or spanned a few years. Your topic can reflect your personality, or it can reveal an event that shaped your outlook and opinions. Your story should have a clear point. If nothing comes to mind, try one of these examples: 

  • A learning experience that challenged and changed you;
  • A new discovery that came about in an interesting way;
  • Something funny that happened to you or your family;
  • A lesson you learned the hard way.

Planning Your Narrative

Start this process with a brainstorming session , taking a few moments to scribble down several memorable events from your life. Remember, this doesn’t have to be high drama: Your event could be anything from blowing your first bubble gum bubble to getting lost in the woods. If you think your life doesn't have that many interesting events, try to come up with one or more examples for each of the following:

  • Times you laughed the hardest
  • Times you felt sorry for your actions
  • Painful memories
  • Times you were surprised
  • Scariest moments

Next, look over your list of events and narrow your choices by selecting those that have a clear chronological pattern , and those that would enable you to use colorful, entertaining, or interesting details and descriptions. 

Finally, decide if your topic has a point. A funny story might represent irony in life or a lesson learned in a comical way; a scary story might demonstrate how you learned from a mistake. Decide on the point of your final topic and keep it in mind as you write.

Show, Don’t Tell 

Your story should be written in the first-person point of view. In a narrative, the writer is the storyteller, so you can write this through your own eyes and ears. Make the reader experience what you experienced—not just read what you experienced.

Do this by imagining that you are reliving your event. As you think about your story, describe on paper what you see, hear, smell, and feel, as follows:

Describing Actions

Don't say:

"My sister ran off."

Instead, say:

"My sister jumped a foot in the air and disappeared behind the closest tree."

Describing Moods

"Everyone felt on edge."
"We were all afraid to breathe. Nobody made a sound."

Elements to Include

Write your story in chronological order . Make a brief outline showing the sequence of events before you begin to write the narrative. This will keep you on track. Your story should include the following:

Characters : Who are the people involved in your story? What are their significant character traits ?

Tense : Your story already happened, so, generally, write in the past tense. Some writers are effective in telling stories in the present tense—but that usually isn't a good idea.

Voice : Are you attempting to be funny, somber, or serious? Are you telling the story of your 5-year-old self?

Conflict : Any good story should have a conflict, which can come in many forms. Conflict can be between you and your neighbor’s dog, or it can be two feelings you are experiencing at one time, like guilt versus the need to be popular.

Descriptive language : Make an effort to broaden your vocabulary and use expressions, techniques, and words that you don’t normally use. This will make your paper more entertaining and interesting, and it will make you a better writer.

Your main point: The story you write should come to a satisfying or interesting end. Do not attempt to describe an obvious lesson directly—it should come from observations and discoveries.

Don't say: "I learned not to make judgments about people based on their appearances."

Instead, say: "Maybe the next time I bump into an elderly lady with greenish skin and a large, crooked nose, I'll greet her with a smile. Even if she is clutching a warped and twisted broomstick."

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There’s no way to cheat the system and avoid writing a narrative essay. Every student has written it at least once. However, while the great majority find this type of essay pretty easy and not challenging, many students struggle to understand the point behind the personal narrative essay.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to write a personal narrative essay like a pro.
  • Why is essay writing critical?
  • What exactly is a personal narrative essay?
  • What is the structure of this essay type?
  • How to choose a unique narrative essay topic?

Before you know it, ideas will start pouring in, and you’ll find the assignment wasn’t a difficult task after all!

In this article:

What is a Personal Narrative Essay?

1. introduction, 3. conclusion, how to write a personal narrative essay, how to choose a personal narrative topic.

A personal narrative essay is usually the preferred type of essay for students. It is commonly referred to as “short storytelling” and lacks the intense research and reference of argumentative and other essays.

Personal narrative essays are all about you and the story you want to tell. It helps shape the future writer in you and takes the reader through a journey. It can be an emotional piece of writing featuring a funny, sad, or surprising event or memory.

You will write a personal narrative essay in first person participle unless your assignment states otherwise. It aims to depict a particular narrative and a crucial moment within it.

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Personal narrative essays are typically assigned to high school students to help advance their creative writing skills, but the structure of this essay is applied to many other writing assignments.

An integral part of your personal narrative essay is the plot and story, as well as the characters featured in it. You can learn more about the structure and essential elements of personal narratives in the sections below, including some tools used by professional writers like a thesis statement or hook sentences. You’ll know how to write a personal narrative essay like a pro by the time you’re done!

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Structure of a Personal Narrative Essay

The personal narrative essay certainly provides the most freedom and flexibility when writing. Of course, like any other text written by high school students or college students, it needs to have an outline and structure. But, don’t worry, it isn’t complicated. It’s there to help you arrange and organize your writing content.

A personal narrative essay consists of three parts:

The introduction is the most crucial part of the essay. It’s the beginning, and it includes your hook statement or sentence, which you use to grab the reader’s attention. Depending on how effective your hook is , the reader will decide whether or not to keep reading.

Another element present in your introduction is the thematic statement. These sentences summarize the essence of your story. They are a little tricky to master, and if you want to learn more, you can use a thematic statements guide to gain some insight into the topic.

Finally, don’t forget your transition word and sentences at the end of the introductory paragraph (and throughout). It’s essential to include those in your work.

Think of it as a burger – the introduction and conclusion are the burger buns, and the body of your essay is the delicious filling inside: all the cucumbers, meat patty, and mouthwatering sauces go here.

When we write personal narrative essays, we use the body of the narrative essay to explain the critical elements of our personal story. As a standard, your body should feature three paragraphs describing your views, stories, and ideas. This is where you will feature your characters and mention where the main event occurs.

Make sure to start your first paragraph with a topic sentence. Topic sentences work as introductions and typically come naturally. They are used as smooth transitions which bridge your introduction and body.

Keep your telling of the events in chronological order. This is the easiest way and most professional way to write. I will help you avoid getting tangled in your storytelling.

This is where you put the climax of your story. The conclusion is where we wrap up and give the readers what they have been waiting for. Summarize your story, and don’t get tempted to add any new elements in this paragraph. Otherwise, you’ll confuse the reader.

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The point of the personal narrative essay is to tap into the student’s personal life and challenge them to write about their experience. A great personal narrative essay shows what happened through vivid details, and it’s an excellent written example of your inner world. The overall story should exemplify your creative writing, feelings, and morals, whether trying to convey interesting thoughts or a specific event. The are several essential elements that need to be present in your personal narrative essay:

  • Choose the Right Topic

The main challenge leading to procrastination is everyone’s most dreaded part – choosing the suitable personal narrative essay topics. I get it. It’s a lot of pressure to focus your entire personal essay on one subject. In addition, you need to choose a theme with an emotional impact, which is a tough decision. However, if you’re struggling to find your topic, browsing essay topics on the web can provide you with various ideas and may even lead to some new inspiration.

Since personal narrative essays are based on thought or actual experiences, choose a topic that excites you. For example, think of a specific moment that you vividly remember. A moment that’s important to you that you can retell through the form of a personal narrative essay. Or perhaps some philosophical thoughts have been on your mind lately? You can use those to inspire your narrative essay topics research.

  • Write an Outline

Think about the main event, and using the structure discussed above, pinpoint the most critical moments of your story. Next, try to create a personal narrative essay outline. This is a great way to prevent your story from filling with irrelevant details and form a straightforward narrative. Writing an outline helps keep your essay in order. Outlines make personal narrative essays and other written work easily digestible for the reader.

  • Grab Attention with a Hook Sentence

Any essay needs a good hook statement, but the personal narrative essay needs it the most. Good hook sentences can convince the reader to go through your entire essay. It grabs the reader’s attention and piques their interest, making them want to read along. With this type of essay, you can be as creative as you want with your hook sentence, but if you’re struggling to come up with one, hook example lists do exist. Take the time to check out all the different hook examples for inspiration.

  • Create Powerful Descriptions

You won’t need to do tons of research for your essay. Since it’s a personal take on events or thoughts, you don’t need to reference anyone. But what you should do is come up with a vivid description. I’m not saying pack your essay full of descriptions, instead, describe a scene or thought and try to submerge the reader into it. It helps to think about adjectives related to the five senses. Then, using your creative writing skills, try to paint a picture with your words.

  • Get Familiar With Transition Words and Use Them

No matter the essay type, whether it’s an argumentative essay or a personal narrative essay, it is vital to use transition words and sentences. The ones we don’t use in our speech but often apply in text: moreover, however, nevertheless, whereas, as well as, etc. You can find other words in the list of transition words that could work to your benefit with a simple Google search.

  • Add Emotions

The point of a narrative essay is to convey the way you feel to the reader through your personal story and experience. This can be hard on new students, and it’s often the most challenging part of an essay. Try to tap into your personal experience, and don’t be shy! Since you’re telling the story in the first person, it’s easier to talk about emotions and provide insight into your thoughts.

  • Maintain Consistency

It’s easy to get distracted focusing on the vivid details or crucial moments. Grabbing the reader’s attention is essential, but getting to the point. Be realistic – have you been staying focused on the point you’re trying to make? Be sure the events in your own story are linked well enough to convey the broader message.

You might want to tell the whole story as it happened, but that’s not always necessary. So instead, go back to your essay topic. Is what you’re writing still consistent with your subject? If not, chop off the unnecessary bits. It might be challenging, but it will make for a cleaner story and free some room for other, more helpful information.

  • Deliver a Moral

What is the significance behind your story? What made you choose this same event? Since this is a personal narrative essay, don’t worry too much about providing evidence – no one will fact-check your story. Instead, think about the moral or the significance behind your experience. What is the broader message?

  • Check Your Work (Twice, Like Santa)

What? Read the whole thing? Again? Yes, proofreading your work is a must and checking it twice matters. Learn to go through your text and look for different things each time. Proofread once and look for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. This is also the time to look for punctual mistakes and contextual inaccuracies.

Books on Eachother with the Word "Topic" on the Top in Wooden Letters

I recommend a fun brainstorming session for anyone stuck with choosing their personal narrative essay topic. Grab a piece of paper and write down a “personal narrative essay” in the middle. Circle the word. Now write down the first words and thoughts that come to mind, no matter how relevant. Maybe you think of the word “pet.” Write that down, circle it and connect it with a line to “personal narrative essay” in the middle. Maybe the word “pet” makes you think of your old cat Timmy. Write down Timmy, circle it, and connect it to “pet” with a line. Perhaps there’s a great story lurking in there.

Repeat the process and try to answer these questions:

  • What are some of the most significant events in your life?
  • Have you ever faced an obstacle or challenge in your life?
  • Did you successfully overcome it? If not, did you learn something?
  • What are some funny stories you can think of?
  • What are some sad events you can think of?
  • Have you experienced betrayal in your life?
  • Is there a place you traveled to that made an impression on you?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • Can you think of a surprising story from your past?

List as many of your ideas as you can from answering these questions. If you run out of space on your sheet, use another one – don’t let that stop you! The more choices you have, the better.

Believe it or not, even this article uses the structure of a narrative essay – it has its own introduction and body, and here is where I deliver the conclusion!

Unlike in a personal narrative essay, I can give you new information!

You can find information on all sorts of essay writing. For example, how you can perfect your 500-word essay or ideas on topics for psychology research , and even examples of debate speech topics , the internet can be full of interesting topics and resources you can use for your next written piece.

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Last updated on Oct 31, 2022

10 Personal Narrative Examples to Inspire Your Writing

Personal narratives are short pieces of creative nonfiction that recount a story from someone’s own experiences. They can be a memoir, a thinkpiece, or even a polemic — so long as the piece is grounded in the writer's beliefs and experiences, it can be considered a personal narrative.

Despite the nonfiction element, there’s no single way to approach this topic, and you can be as creative as you would be writing fiction. To inspire your writing and reveal the sheer diversity of this type of essay, here are ten great examples personal narratives from recent years: 

1. “Only Disconnect” by Gary Shteyngart

how to make a personal narrative speech

Personal narratives don’t have to be long to be effective, as this thousand-word gem from the NYT book review proves. Published in 2010, just as smartphones were becoming a ubiquitous part of modern life, this piece echoes many of our fears surrounding technology and how it often distances us from reality.

In this narrative, Shteyngart navigates Manhattan using his new iPhone—or more accurately, is led by his iPhone, completely oblivious to the world around him. He’s completely lost to the magical happenstance of the city as he “follow[s] the arrow taco-ward”. But once he leaves for the country, and abandons the convenience of a cell phone connection, the real world comes rushing back in and he remembers what he’s been missing out on. 

The downfalls of technology is hardly a new topic, but Shteyngart’s story remains evergreen because of how our culture has only spiraled further down the rabbit hole of technology addiction in the intervening years.

What can you learn from this piece?

Just because a piece of writing is technically nonfiction, that doesn’t mean that the narrative needs to be literal. Shteyngart imagines a Manhattan that physically changes around him when he’s using his iPhone, becoming an almost unrecognizable world. From this, we can see how a certain amount of dramatization can increase the impact of your message—even if that wasn’t exactly the way something happened. 

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2. “Why I Hate Mother's Day” by Anne Lamott

The author of the classic writing text Bird by Bird digs into her views on motherhood in this piece from Salon. At once a personal narrative and a cultural commentary, Lamott explores the harmful effects that Mother’s Day may have on society —how its blind reverence to the concept of motherhood erases women’s agency and freedom to be flawed human beings. 

Lamott points out that not all mothers are good, not everyone has a living mother to celebrate, and some mothers have lost their children, so have no one to celebrate with them. More importantly, she notes how this Hallmark holiday erases all the people who helped raise a woman, a long chain of mothers and fathers, friends and found family, who enable her to become a mother. While it isn’t anchored to a single story or event (like many classic personal narratives), Lamott’s exploration of her opinions creates a story about a culture that puts mothers on an impossible pedestal. 

In a personal narrative essay, lived experience can be almost as valid as peer-reviewed research—so long as you avoid making unfounded assumptions. While some might point out that this is merely an opinion piece, Lamott cannily starts the essay by grounding it in the personal, revealing how she did not raise her son to celebrate Mother’s Day. This detail, however small, invites the reader into her private life and frames this essay as a story about her —and not just an exercise in being contrary.

3. “The Crane Wife” by CJ Hauser 

Days after breaking off her engagement with her fiance, CJ Hauser joins a scientific expedition on the Texas coast r esearching whooping cranes . In this new environment, she reflects on the toxic relationship she left and how she found herself in this situation. She pulls together many seemingly disparate threads, using the expedition and the Japanese myth of the crane wife as a metaphor for her struggles. 

Hauser’s interactions with the other volunteer researchers expand the scope of the narrative from her own mind, reminding her of the compassion she lacked in her relationship. In her attempts to make herself smaller, less needy, to please her fiance, she lost sight of herself and almost signed up to live someone else’s life, but among the whooping cranes of Texas, she takes the first step in reconnecting with herself.

With short personal narratives, there isn’t as much room to develop characters as you might have in a memoir so the details you do provide need to be clear and specific. Each of the volunteer researchers on Hauser’s expedition are distinct and recognizable though Hauser is economical in her descriptions. 

For example, Hauser describes one researcher as “an eighty-four-year-old bachelor from Minnesota. He could not do most of the physical activities required by the trip, but had been on ninety-five Earthwatch expeditions, including this one once before. Warren liked birds okay. What Warren really loved was cocktail hour.” 

In a few sentences, we get a clear picture of Warren's fun-loving, gregarious personality and how he fits in with the rest of the group.

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4. “The Trash Heap Has Spoken” by Carmen Maria Machado

The films and TV shows of the 80s and 90s—cultural touchstones that practically raised a generation—hardly ever featured larger women on screen. And if they did, it was either as a villain or a literal trash heap. Carmen Maria Machado grew up watching these cartoons, and the absence of fat women didn’t faze her. Not until puberty hit and she went from a skinny kid to a fuller-figured teen. Suddenly uncomfortable in her skin, she struggled to find any positive representation in her favorite media.

As she gets older and more comfortable in her own body, Machado finds inspiration in Marjory the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock and Ursula, everyone’s favorite sea witch from The Little Mermaid —characters with endless power in the unapologetic ways they inhabit their bodies. As Machado considers her own body through the years, it’s these characters she returns to as she faces society’s unkind, dismissive attitudes towards fat women.

Stories shape the world, even if they’re fictional. Some writers strive for realism, reflecting the world back on itself in all its ugliness, but Carmen Maria Machado makes a different point. There is power in being imaginative and writing the world as it could be, imagining something bigger, better, and more beautiful. So, write the story you want to see, change the narrative, look at it sideways, and show your readers how the world could look. 

5. “Am I Disabled?” by Joanne Limburg 

The titular question frames the narrative of Joanne Limburg’s essay as she considers the implications of disclosing her autism. What to some might seem a mundane occurrence—ticking ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘prefer not to say’ on a bureaucratic form—elicits both philosophical and practical questions for Limburg about what it means to be disabled and how disability is viewed by the majority of society. 

Is the labor of disclosing her autism worth the insensitive questions she has to answer? What definition are people seeking, exactly? Will anyone believe her if she says yes? As she dissects the question of what disability is, she explores the very real personal effects this has on her life and those of other disabled people. 

Limburg’s essay is written in a style known as the hermit crab essay , when an author uses an existing document form to contain their story. You can format your writing as a recipe, a job application, a resume, an email, or a to-do list – the possibilities are as endless as your creativity. The format you choose is important, though. It should connect in some way to the story you’re telling and add something to the reader’s experience as well as your overall theme. 

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6. “Living Like Weasels” by Annie Dillard

how to make a personal narrative speech

While out on a walk in the woods behind her house, Annie Dillard encounters a wild weasel. In the short moment when they make eye contact, Dillard takes an imaginary journey through the weasel’s mind and wonders if the weasel’s approach to life is better than her own. 

The weasel, as Dillard sees it, is a wild creature with jaws so powerful that when it clamps on to something, it won’t let go, even into death. Necessity drives it to be like this, and humanity, obsessed with choice, might think this kind of life is limiting, but the writer believes otherwise. The weasel’s necessity is the ultimate freedom, as long as you can find the right sort, the kind that will have you holding on for dear life and refusing to let go. 

Make yourself the National Geographic explorer of your backyard or neighborhood and see what you can learn about yourself from what you discover. Annie Dillard, queen of the natural personal essay, discovers a lot about herself and her beliefs when meeting a weasel.

What insight can you glean from a blade of grass, for example? Does it remind you that despite how similar people might be, we are all unique? Do the flights of migrating birds give you perspective on the changes in your own life? Nature is a potent and never-ending spring of inspiration if you only think to look. 

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7. “Love In Our Seventies” by Ellery Akers

“ And sometimes, when I lift the gray hair at the back of your neck and kiss your shoulder, I think, This is it.”

In under 400 words, poet Ellery Akers captures the joy she has found in discovering romance as a 75-year-old . The language is romantic, but her imagery is far from saccharine as she describes their daily life and the various states in which they’ve seen each other: in their pajamas, after cataract surgeries, while meditating. In each singular moment, Akers sees something she loves, underscoring an oft-forgotten truth. Love is most potent in its smallest gestures.  

Personal narrative isn’t a defined genre with rigid rules, so your essay doesn’t have to be an essay. It can be a poem, as Akers’ is. The limitations of this form can lead to greater creativity as you’re trying to find a short yet evocative way to tell a story. It allows you to focus deeply on the emotions behind an idea and create an intimate connection with your reader. 

8. “What a Black Woman Wishes Her Adoptive White Parents Knew” by Mariama Lockington

how to make a personal narrative speech

Mariama Lockington was adopted by her white parents in the early 80s, long before it was “trendy” for white people to adopt black children. Starting with a family photograph, the writer explores her complex feelings about her upbringing , the many ways her parents ignored her race for their own comfort, and how she came to feel like an outsider in her own home. In describing her childhood snapshots, she takes the reader from infancy to adulthood as she navigates trying to live as a black woman in a white family. 

Lockington takes us on a journey through her life through a series of vignettes. These small, important moments serve as a framing device, intertwining to create a larger narrative about race, family, and belonging. 

With this framing device, it’s easy to imagine Lockington poring over a photo album, each picture conjuring a different memory and infusing her story with equal parts sadness, regret, and nostalgia. You can create a similar effect by separating your narrative into different songs to create an album or episodes in a TV show. A unique structure can add an extra layer to your narrative and enhance the overall story.

9. “Drinking Chai to Savannah” by Anjali Enjeti

On a trip to Savannah with her friends, Anjali Enjeti is reminded of a racist incident she experienced as a teenager . The memory is prompted by her discomfort of traveling in Georgia as a South Asian woman and her friends’ seeming obliviousness to how others view them. As she recalls the tense and traumatic encounter she had in line at a Wendy’s and the worry she experiences in Savannah, Enjeti reflects on her understanding of otherness and race in America. 

Enjeti paints the scene in Wendy’s with a deft hand. Using descriptive language, she invokes the five senses to capture the stress and fear she felt when the men in line behind her were hurling racist sentiments. 

She writes, “He moves closer. His shadow eclipses mine. His hot, tobacco-tinged breath seeps over the collar of my dress.” The strong, evocative language she uses brings the reader into the scene and has them experience the same anxiety she does, understanding why this incident deeply impacted her. 

10. “Siri Tells A Joke” by Debra Gwartney

One day, Debra Gwartney asks Siri—her iPhone’s digital assistant—to tell her a joke. In reply, Siri recites a joke with a familiar setup about three men stuck on a desert island. When the punchline comes, Gwartney reacts not with laughter, but with a memory of her husband , who had died less than six months prior.

In a short period, Gwartney goes through a series of losses—first, her house and her husband’s writing archives to a wildfire, and only a month after, her husband. As she reflects on death and the grief of those left behind in the wake of it, she recounts the months leading up to her husband’s passing and the interminable stretch after as she tries to find a way to live without him even as she longs for him. 

A joke about three men on a deserted island seems like an odd setup for an essay about grief. However, Gwartney uses it to great effect, coming back to it later in the story and giving it greater meaning. By the end of her piece, she recontextualizes the joke, the original punchline suddenly becoming deeply sad. In taking something seemingly unrelated and calling back to it later, the essay’s message about grief and love becomes even more powerful.

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  • How to write a narrative essay | Example & tips

How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .

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Table of contents

What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.

When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.

A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.

These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.

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Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.

  • Write a story about your first day of school.
  • Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.

You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.

  • Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
  • Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?

In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.

Narrative essays in college applications

When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.

For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.

In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.

An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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how to make a personal narrative speech

If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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How to Write a Narrative Speech

Most people must give a narrative speech at some point in life. Speeches have a beginning, middle and an ending and speakers signal these speech segments by using short sentences for the main headings. A major consideration when writing the narrative includes deciding how to deliver the speech. An extemporaneous-style delivery of your narrative speech uses only a general outline of the body's main points and a few helpful notes, while manuscript delivery requires writing every word on paper and using this as a script during the delivery.

Select Your Topic

Topic selection for some speakers is the most difficult part of writing the narrative speech. Most people feel some stress when presenting a speech, so stick with the information you know best. This helps you remember while under the stress, even when giving a manuscript-style presentation. Experiences work well as narrative speeches, including interesting personal and life events and family traditions. An introduction about yourself also offers a short narrative topic. Some narrative presentations include a teachable moment or a moral for the listener, but this element is not necessary.

Do the Research

Speech research doesn't always require a trip to the library. Research for a narrative might include talking to family members to confirm important dates or refresh your memory about events for your speech. A narrative speech about an event in the life of another person should include traditional research at the library or using online resources. Keep quotations short, no more than one or two sentences, if you need to use a quote in your speech. Make a note of the source of the quotation and cite that in your speech, so your audience understands the quote belongs to another person.

Organize the Body

Organization helps the audience follow the main points of the speech and remember important parts of your presentation. A chronology, using a timeline for events, offers an easy organization pattern for a narrative speech. An event typically has a beginning, middle and end, and the chronological organization pattern fits the recommendations of the University of Pittsburgh Speaking in the Discipline Initiative by using no more than three separate categories for the body of the speech.

Develop an Introduction

Introductions grab attention, give the listeners a hint of the overall speech topic and offer a smooth transition to guide the audience into the body of the speech. However, the attention-getter should not distract the audience so that the introduction becomes the focus of the speech. A short quotation, anecdote, appropriate humor or fact about the topic of your narrative work well as an introduction. Test your introduction on some friends to make sure it grabs attention.

Write the Conclusion

The conclusion moves you from the front of the room as the speaker back to your seat and signals to the audience that your speech is over. A summary of your main points offers one way to end your presentation. More effective techniques combine that summary with a wrap-up quote, fact or anecdote that reminds your audience of your main topic. A restatement of the moral or lesson works well for a narrative speech with this message.

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Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.

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How to Write an Outline for a Narrative Speech

How to write an essay with a thesis statement.

A narrative speech relates the story of an event, whether from the speaker’s life or from that of someone she knows. Usually organized chronologically, narrative speeches are often given to entertain or teach the listener. In writing an effective narrative speech, start with an outline to help focus on the purpose of the speech, organize the events discussed in the speech and create a final draft .

A Statement of Purpose

Identify the purpose of your speech, such as imparting a moral or making the audience feel good. This step is necessary and saves revision, because you know where the speech is going from the beginning. It also ensures that nothing necessary is left out. Identifying your purpose can be as simple as writing a one-sentence statement at the top of the outline . Keep the statement of purpose in view and refer back to it or refine it if needed.

Your Attention Please

Grab the audience’s attention and preview the topic of the speech in the introduction. Include a hook or attention-getter, the thesis and a preview of the narrative in this order; establish credibility after the hook if you think it's important. In your outline, the introduction is Roman numeral “I,” and each part receives a capital letter under it -- A: Hook, B: Establish Credibility, C: Thesis, D: Preview. Capture the main idea of each part in one sentence, saving the details for the post-outline writing stage.

A Full Body

Ensure no essential narrative parts are missing by organizing the story carefully in the body. Outline this part of the speech in a straightforward manner by including the most important points in chronological order , adding extraneous information as necessary. Write the body as Roman numeral “II” and give each body point its own capital letter. Add numbers underneath the letters for supporting information. Use full sentences and save minute details for the writing stage.

Thank You, Ladies and Gentlemen

An abrupt stop at the end of the narrative will confuse or frustrate the audience. Use the conclusion to wrap up the speech, reminding the audience of the takeaway, if any. Include three main points: a signal that the speech is nearly finished, a summary of the story and a thesis review . Add Roman numeral “III” for the conclusion, then one capital letter for each point — A: Signal, B: Summary, C: Thesis Review. Capture the essential information in one sentence for each. When finished, review the purpose of the speech to ensure that the outline is in accordance.

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Melissa Harr is a writer and knitting pattern designer with a range of publication credits. Her latest work includes blogging for Smudge Yarns, judging fiction for Ink & Insights 2015 and creating patterns for I Like Knitting magazine. Harr holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a CELTA.

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How Personal Narrative Speech Examples Can Help You Craft Your Own Story

By knbbs-sharer.

how to make a personal narrative speech

Are you struggling to write your personal narrative speech? Do you feel like you don’t know where to start or how to structure your story? Well, the good news is that there’s a solution – learning from other people’s personal narrative speeches. In this article, we’ll explore how personal narrative speech examples can help you craft your own story.

What Is a Personal Narrative Speech?

A personal narrative speech is a speech that tells a personal story. It’s a way to share your experiences and emotions with others, and it can be a very powerful form of communication. Personal narrative speeches can be used in a variety of settings, such as in a classroom, at a conference, or even in a job interview. The key to a successful personal narrative speech is to make it engaging and relatable.

How Personal Narrative Speech Examples Can Help You

One of the best ways to learn how to craft a personal narrative speech is to study examples. By analyzing what works and what doesn’t in other people’s speeches, you can gain valuable insights and inspiration for your own story. Here are a few ways that personal narrative speech examples can help you:

Understanding Structure

A well-structured personal narrative speech can make a big difference in how effectively you communicate your story to your audience. By studying examples of personal narrative speeches, you can get a sense of how to organize your own speech. For example, you might notice that effective personal narrative speeches often start with a strong hook to grab the audience’s attention, and then build up to a climax before wrapping up with a satisfying conclusion.

Developing Your Style

Personal narrative speeches are all about personal expression, and studying examples can help you develop your own style. By looking at how other speakers use language, tone, and pacing, you can start to identify what approaches resonate with you and what feels authentic to your own voice.

Gaining Insight into Emotion and Authenticity

Personal narrative speeches are inherently emotional and personal, and it can be difficult to convey the depth of your experience to your audience. By studying examples of personal narrative speeches, you can see how other people have successfully conveyed their emotions and experiences in a way that connects with their audience. This can help you gain insight into how to make your own story feel authentic and emotionally resonant.

Crafting a personal narrative speech can be a daunting task, but it’s also a powerful way to share your story with others. By studying personal narrative speech examples, you can gain valuable insights into how to structure your story, develop your own style, and convey authentic emotion to your audience. So, the next time you’re feeling stuck in your writing, take some time to explore personal narrative speech examples – you might just find the inspiration you need to tell your own story in a compelling way.

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  1. Personal Narrative Speech

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COMMENTS

  1. Narrative Speech

    Personal narrative speeches give focus on a specific real life event that served as a turning point for the writer. Speeches are often given as an assignment or a project by the teacher. But in order to write a strong personal narrative about yourself, try to think of an idea that might pique the audience's curiosity.

  2. Narrative Speech [With Topics and Examples]

    10 Fast Showcases Here are example narrative speech topics you can share in a speech class or other public speaking assignment in high school, college education. Narrow the speech topics appropriately to the public speaking occasion rules with the specialized checklist I have composed with seven narrative speech writing tips.

  3. How To Write a Personal Narrative (With Examples)

    1. Choose your topic Before you start writing, you can choose a topic that will guide your writing. Because a personal narrative is based on your experiences, try to choose a topic you're comfortable with and willing to discuss. It also can help to consider the purpose of your narrative when choosing a topic.

  4. How to Write a Personal Narrative: Steps and Examples

    Telling the Story of Yourself: 6 Steps to Writing Personal Narratives Jennifer Xue Corporate Content Specialist Table of Contents Why Do We Write Personal Narratives? 6 Guidelines for Writing Personal Narrative Essays Inspiring Personal Narratives Examples of Personal Narrative Essays Tell Your Story

  5. How to Write a Personal Narrative: A Step-By-Step Guide

    Part 1 Brainstorming Ideas for the Narrative Download Article 1 Focus on a memorable event or moment in your life.

  6. How to Start a Personal Narrative: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

    1 Think of a meaningful event in your life. A personal narrative should focus on something pivotal or meaningful in your life and also connects to the prompt you are addressing, if applicable. Ask yourself, "What events in my life stand out the most for me? What events taught me something or made me realize something life-changing?" [1]

  7. Examples of narrative speech topics

    To give a good narrative speech, one that fully engages our audience we need to: choose a meaningful story with strong characters they can relate to in a situation they'll recognize and identify with use vivid language enabling them to easily picture and feel what's happening

  8. A Complete Guide to Personal Narrative Speech

    How to write a narrative speech. Brainstorm about Topics - It is beneficial to be clear about the topic on which you are going to give the speech. Get some good quotes and gather some raw data related to the topic. Know your audience - You should write a speech that your audience can relate to. Prepare the Outline of your speech -

  9. How to Write a Narrative Essay or Speech

    Richard Nordquist Updated on October 16, 2020 A narrative essay or speech is used to tell a story, often one that is based on personal experience. This genre of work comprises works of nonfiction that hew closely to the facts and follow a logical chronological progression of events.

  10. Personal Narrative Writing Guide

    A personal narrative is a means for the writer to explore the meaning of the events in their life. It is, at its core, an introspective and creative endeavor that focuses as much on the interior life of the writer as it does on external events. While the conclusion of a traditional recount usually provides some of the writer's insights, in a ...

  11. How to Write a Personal Narrative

    Grace Fleming Updated on August 15, 2019 The personal narrative essay can be the most enjoyable type of assignment to write because it provides you with an opportunity to share a meaningful event from your life. After all, how often do you get to tell funny stories or brag about a great experience and receive school credit for it?

  12. Everything You Need for a Memorable Personal Narrative Essay

    Grab a piece of paper and write down a "personal narrative essay" in the middle. Circle the word. Now write down the first words and thoughts that come to mind, no matter how relevant. Maybe you think of the word "pet.". Write that down, circle it and connect it with a line to "personal narrative essay" in the middle.

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    Personal narrative speeches give focus on a specific real life event that served as a turning point for the speaker/writer. In order to write a strong person...

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    "Only Disconnect" by Gary Shteyngart Personal narratives don't have to be long to be effective, as this thousand-word gem from the NYT book review proves. Published in 2010, just as smartphones were becoming a ubiquitous part of modern life, this piece echoes many of our fears surrounding technology and how it often distances us from reality.

  15. Personal Narratives in the Speech Curriculum

    Compare the use of a personal narrative with the same story told second-hand or through third-person perspective. Discuss the differences in impact. Compare the impact of a personal narrative ...

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    Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check. Try for free Choosing a topic Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you're given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with. Specific prompts Write a story about your first day of school.

  17. How to Write a Narrative Speech

    A narrative speech about an event in the life of another person should include traditional research at the library or using online resources. Keep quotations short, no more than one or two sentences, if you need to use a quote in your speech. Make a note of the source of the quotation and cite that in your speech, so your audience understands ...

  18. How to Write an Outline for a Narrative Speech

    Add Roman numeral "III" for the conclusion, then one capital letter for each point — A: Signal, B: Summary, C: Thesis Review. Capture the essential information in one sentence for each. When finished, review the purpose of the speech to ensure that the outline is in accordance. A narrative speech relates the story of an event, whether ...

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    In this video, you will learn how to write an introduction for your personal narrative story. We discuss different strategies, such as using sound, dialogue,...

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    I. II. Charlyn Gonda Speech 101 - Narrative Speech Outline To share a personal experience and the insight or lesson gained. After hearing my speech, my audience will understand the importance of expressing their gratitude to the people they love. It's important to show your gratitude and love to your friends, because it might be your last chance.

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    April 12, 2022 Essay Want to meet the expectations of your tutor by writing an impressive narrative? Pick the right topic and you'll manage to do this successfully. The choice of a topic plays a crucial role in the success of your paper. If you pick the topic you feel passionate about, the reader will feel engaged in the story.

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    About Press Copyright Contact us Creators Advertise Developers Terms Privacy Policy & Safety How YouTube works Test new features NFL Sunday Ticket Press Copyright ...

  23. How Personal Narrative Speech Examples Can Help You Craft Your Own

    Personal narrative speeches can be used in a variety of settings, such as in a classroom, at a conference, or even in a job interview. The key to a successful personal narrative speech is to make it engaging and relatable. How Personal Narrative Speech Examples Can Help You. One of the best ways to learn how to craft a personal narrative speech ...