I cringe every time I hear a “professional” speaker tell a tired, worn out story that I’ve heard a hundred times before.
You know the stories:
The professor who brings a big bottle into class and puts a rock in it and asks the class, “Is the bottle full?”
Or the Starfish story.
Or the ladle in the bed story.
Come on, folks, audiences don’t want to hear the same old stuff – and believe me, they’ve heard it before.
They want to hear the authentic you.
Fortunately, you have stories inside you that make points. You just don’t realize it.
Here’s the secret for turning any personal story into a story that makes a point for your audience.
I thought everyone knew this, but when I shared it with a client recently, I realized many new speakers don’t have a clue as to this tactic.
She told me a story. She was working at a social services agency and had to transport a client to a meeting. During the drive, the client, clearly mentally unbalanced, engaged in inappropriate behavior. As a result, she asked that the company give her a company car in the future.
I said, “Do you use that story in your talks?”
She said, “No.”
I said, “Don’t you realize that story illustrates one of your key points?”
She said, “Really?”
I said, “Think about it. What is the point of your story that relates to executive business women?”
She thought and said, “Women need to stick up for themselves.”
She was right.
Now she had a story that illustrated a key point.
Of course, she could have said:
* You need to separate your work life from your personal life
* You need to make sure you are never put in a dangerous situation
* You need to get a new job!
And those would have been right as well.
The point is, your personal stories always teach lessons to others. You could use one story to illustrate different points for different audiences.
But the key is to use YOUR stories, not someone else’s.
You’ll be authentic when you do and that will lead to new engagements.
I can help you find your true stories. Call me to arrange for a coaching session. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call me directly 952-380-9844. Sessions are $250 per hour but the rate will go up to $500 per hour in January. So book your session now to lock in the lower rate and schedule your appointment for this year or next year. I can’t work with everyone, so when the time I’ve set aside for coaching is full, it’s full. So act now.
I always tell stories when I speak because it helps the audience relate and remember the message. I try to remember to use stories from my book, The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go, although I don’t like to use the same ones all the time. I might use a particular anecdote when an audience member asks a question or if something happened that week that fits the situation.
I appreciate it when others use stories to bring their presentations to life, too.