“4th S”: Storytelling Secret to transform your speech from good to great

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The tiny factor of storytelling secret

Storytelling can be overwhelming sometimes. There are multiple techniques, which can be used. Some of the techniques are complex and it takes experience to understand how to apply them. Some of the techniques are straightforward but sometimes we fail to implement them perfectly or we fail to recognise a tiny influencing factor of it in our story. When we miss out on this, we won’t say your story will be bad, it will be effective but it won’t have an everlasting impact on your audience. The tiny factor which we will discuss is the 4th S in storytelling or the 4th Component.

Most of the stories will have 3 components




On the surface level, these 3 points look sufficient to make an impactful story. But, there is a minute flaw that is subtle and makes a great impact.

Struggle: When we go into detail more than required about the struggle in the story, your audience’s mind will say “Nah Nah Nah, Everyone goes through a struggle.” Even though I am going through one. Just move forward to the next point.

Solution: This is where your audience is interested. It is fine to explain in detail. Your transition to the next step has to be smooth and deliberate. 

Success: As a speaker, we tend to speak about our success not to brag about it, but to try to convince the audience how things can change. We give them hope. Sometimes as a speaker, we get carried away by this and we try to go into detail more than required. Again our audience’s mind says “Nah Nah Nah, he is bragging again.” Even though our intention is not that.

On the Surface level, these 3 points constitute a good speech.

But we tend to miss out on the 4th S which is subtle.

The 4th S


 “Switch” is that moment in your story that made you realize that you can do it.

Your audience wants to know, When did the light go ON? What made you believe in yourself? What triggered you to move forward?

The success of storytelling is about what made you realize that you had what you needed and be what you wanted.

It’s a situation or a phase which is generally 10 seconds or less. But, it is the most powerful moment.

Your audience doesn’t want to listen more about your struggle and success. Sometimes, they are not aware that they don’t want to listen in detail about it. And at the end of the speech, they feel good and motivated, but something is missing, they wonder. Just like an ingredient in the food. The food looks good, smells food, it has the flavours to it but something is missing, which is stopping it from being incredible. The average audience will not know about what is missing but an expert will know what is missing.

The basic pattern of the story

“ I was going through a crisis but I didn’t give up. I was determined. I worked hard .blah blah blah “

This is the basic pattern. Struggle – Solution – Success

You need to find that “Switch moment” in your story. 

Tell them what made you determined. Tell them why you did not give up. Tell them what made you believe in yourself. Don’t just say I believed in myself etc, etc and move forward with the story.


I was not aware of this. In one of my stories in an International speech contest, I used to think the struggle, solution and success made my story good. But, I had a “Switch “ in the story which was impactful and I was not aware of it.

Speech title: WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP   – Roel Dsouza

Speech Transcript of 3rd half of body:

“When things were not going well. I was sitting on the shores in Mangalore. I thought of giving up. While I was going back, a fisherman stopped by and asked for a 500 rupee note in return for a five, 100 rupee note. I gave him the 500 rupees note and handed over the change. The notes were crumpled and perhaps stinking to some extent. By the time I realized it, he was gone. But, I was not worried because the money doesn’t lose value. That’s when it struck me. Even after being destroyed, crumpled and stinking, if a piece of paper doesn’t lose its value, then why do we let someone else’s criticism, our failure stop us? I was changed by the change. “                    

These few lines made a difference in the story. This was one of the key factors which contributed to the story. It was not just the struggle or the success.

In your next story or speech try to emphasize the “Switch” and see the magic of it.


Place your hand on your heart and say “I will discover the 4th S in my story.”
Place your index finger on your forehead and say “I am a confident and powerful speaker.”

“This is a hot topic, so we are curious to see what you have to say. Share your thoughts about these storytelling secrets in the comments below.”

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