Remember – It’s Your Story

Professional Speaker-Professional Development-Positive Attitude

This is the fourth week we are talking about storytelling.  Why?  Because it is so powerful in getting your message heard and remembered.  Did you know that an audience is twenty times more likely to remember a fact if it is presented as part of a story that touches them emotionally (this is according to Jerome Bruner, cognitive psychologist).

But does it really matter who said it?  Just think about some of the lessons and techniques you have learned recently.  Do you remember the Power Point and graphs and charts – or do you remember the stories that you identified with.

So in order to be a great storyteller, let’s take it to the next level…

So far, I have shared with you techniques on where to find your stories and how to construct them to have your audience sitting on the edge of their seats.  Now there’s only one more bonus tip you need.  It will help you become one of the best storytellers ever!  The final tip is how to remember your story so you can make an impact on your audience.

Bonus Tip!

To help remember your story:

  • Record it and listen to it over and over again.
  • As you listen to your story, visualize it.
  • Say it out loud as many times as possible.
  • Use short, simple, descriptive words.

So, if you should find yourself standing in front of an audience, and those nerves begin to kick in, try the four tips above.  Remember, it’s your story.  You should know it better than anyone else, so just begin telling it.  Have fun with your audience.  Laugh along with them. You will be amazed at how impactful you can be.

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Jaw Dropping, Captivating Storytelling

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In my last two blogs, I shared the importance of storytelling and specific ideas on where to find your stories.  So now that you have the idea, and your story is written, how do you bring it to life? How to you actually tell it so people will want to listen.

Here are a few ideas:

One trick is to engage all your senses – or at least some of them.  That means, tell your listener what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you taste and what you feel.  This last one can be what you feel inside, like an emotion, or what you feel physically, like a hard bench.  By engaging the senses, you invite your listener into your world and make them actually feel  your words.

Another technique is to use dialogue.  Here’s an example – see if you can tell the difference:

My brother stepped out of the phone booth and told me that Mama said we could go on the

roller coaster.

OR

My brother stepped out of the phone booth, looked at me and said: “Guess what, Nancy, Mama

said yes, we can go on the roller coaster.”

Take a minute and say those two examples out loud.  You will definitely notice a difference.  Creating dialogue makes your story more exciting and more engaging.

And then there’s the Power of the Pause.  When you want to create suspense or need your audience to sit up and take notice, PAUSE. It works every single time.  A word of caution here – it will seem like an eternity to you, the speaker.  But the most dramatic lines are delivered with a longer pause.  One thing that helps me stay on track is to silently count to three in my head before I deliver the punch line or dramatic statement.

If you would like to see some of this in action, check out the story I told when I won the Chicago District 30 International Speech Contest.  I finished in the top 100 out of 30,000 competitors, and it was my storytelling techniques that helped: Mama Told Me Not to Come. It’s a hoot.

Well, look at this – time has flown by.  I have a few more tricks and tips to share with you on storytelling, so I hope you’ll join me next week.  I promise it will be well worth your time.

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Where Do I Even Begin?

Professional Speaker-Professional Development-Positive Attitude

In last week’s blog, we talked about storytelling and how impactful it can be, whether you’re talking to an audience of 1 or 1,000.  But how do you find your stories?  Where do you even begin?

With a universal truth – that’s where!

A universal truth is a feeling or action or emotion that just about everyone has experienced and can identify with.  Think about anger, love, jealousy, and things like that.  Some of the topics that can help you get started are:

  • Sibling rivalry
  • An embarrassing situation
  • What you studied in school
  • First job or promotion
  • A bad customer service experience
  • An interesting trip or business meeting

You get the idea.  The above examples are very relatable because most people have had a new car, a first job, etc.

I heard of this great example:

Sallie Krawcheck is the former CEO of Citigroup’s Global Wealth Management division. Through her speeches, she connects with people by telling a story that anyone can identify with.  She talks about feeling like an outcast at her all-girls school as a teenager – with glasses, braces, and corrective shoes – and how that prepared her for the challenges of her professional life. She once said: “there was nothing they could do to me at Salomon Brothers in the ’80s that was worse than the seventh grade.”

Get the idea?

Remember, each story must have a beginning, a middle and an end.  A good formula to follow is to have a LIKEABLE HERO who ENCOUNTERS ROADBLOCKS and EMERGES TRANSFORMED.

You can also apply that to your own life, here’s a suggestion that will help you take that first step:

First, write down your struggle or your challenge:

Second, write your success – how did you overcome your challenge and bounce back:

Play around with these ideas, suggestions and formulas and see what you come up with.  Next week I’ll share some info on how to make your story come to life when you actually tell it out loud.  You will have your listeners sitting on the edge of their seats!

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Everyone Has a Story – What’s Yours???

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The best way to get something you want, or to make someone understand what you need, is to tell a story.

Did you know that people are 20 times more likely to remember a fact if it is presented as part of a story?  That means that all those charts and graphs and numbers in your presentation can actually be interesting if they are wrapped up in a good story – especially one that is attached to an emotion.

Of course it has to be relevant to your audience and your message.  So talking about your Aunt Suzie’s cat won’t have an effect on your audience unless you make it clear why you are telling it.  Your audience will always be thinking: What’s in it for me (WIFM).

There’s a good reason why stories are so important:

PEOPLE REMEMBER THEM!!!

And you can use stories for so many different reasons:

  • To motivate your team to work together
  • To encourage your children not to give up
  • To comfort a friend who has suffered a loss

So what’s stopping you?  Put on those specks and start writing.  Look at that blank page and see what words begin to pour out.  Those white pages will soon fill up with words and phrases and sentences that will make your story come to life.  And those are the same stories that can help someone else believe in themselves once again and learn to laugh a little sooner.

Next week I’ll offer some suggestions on how to find your stories and how to make them impactful.  Hint: it has to do with Universal Truth.  HUH???  Stay tuned!

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