Jaw Dropping, Captivating Storytelling

Professional speaker-professional development-positive attitude

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.


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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Hit Your Mental Delete Button

Professional Speaker-Positive Thinking-Personal Development

How many times have you heard the word “no”?

NO – You’re too young
NO – You’re too old
NO – You don’t have enough experience

Even worse, how many times have you told yourself “no”?
How many times have you felt that you just weren’t good enough!!! YIKES!!!

It is that exact thought that haunted me yesterday.

As you may already know, I am preparing for the Toastmaster’s International Speech Contest held in Washington DC this August. The way it works is that I will compete against 96 people in the semi-finals. They then narrow it down to 10 competitors who advance to the finals, and you compete again two days later with a new speech.

I don’t have to tell you that the tension is high. Not only do I have to create two winning speeches, I have to find the perfect look because I will be standing in front of 2,000 plus people. More importantly, I need to portray the right image. In other words, I must find a way to stand out from my competition – both in the way I look and in the speech I deliver.

So yesterday, I went shopping for the perfect outfit. As I struggled to find the “winning” look, a thought occurred to me: Maybe I should leave the price tag on the dress just in case I don’t advance to the finals. If I don’t wear it, I can return it.

WHAT! Was I actually telling myself that I may not be good enough to win?

It’s then that I realized I was telling myself “no”.

I searched desperately for that mental delete button so I could get that thought out of my head as soon as possible. I REFUSE to tell myself “no”. Immediately, I started to replace that thought with images of me standing on stage holding that first place trophy. Immediately, I gave myself permission to earn the title of International Speech Champion.

So once again I ask you: How many times have you told yourself “no”. Search for your own internal delete button and press it as fast as you can. Replace it with a visual of what your end goal will look like. Hear, smell, feel, see and taste your success. It will elevate you to a place that words can’t describe.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development Professional Speaker
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