Personal STORIES Reinforce the. . .By
P Points of Your Message!
We love to hear Stories, don’t we! Make them Personal Stories!
Everyone remembers sitting and listening intently to a parent, grandparent, or teacher as they told us a great Story.
Stories allow us to use our imagination to “see” what the storyteller is talking about.
Telling Stories is one of the Best Ways to reinforce the Points you make in the Body of your Speech.
Stories illustrate, in the mind’s eye of people seeing and hearing you, the Points of the message you are delivering.
They should be Personal Stories.
Too often, speakers tell stories audiences have already heard. An example, if making a Point about Persistence, is the Story of Thomas Edison’s 10,000 experiments that lead to the invention of the incandescent light bulb. (I once heard back-to-back speakers tell this same story!)
Tell your Story! No one, unless they give you attribution, can tell Your Story!
Great Presenters are Great Storytellers.
Here’s an example of my Personal Story reinforcing a point.
My Point: One of the reasons people have a Fear of Public Speaking is they think they have nothing to talk about that others will find interesting or helpful. Nonsense!
My Story: Let me tell you a Story about what happened in one of the Presentation Skills Classes I was teaching. This was a short survey course on the Components, Parts, and Elements of a Presentation. We met for two hours the first week, where I did most of the talking, and two hours a week later, when each person in the class gave their mini-presentations.
The class consisted of a great group of inner city Church Ladies. Some were highly educated, while others may not have finished high school. They took my course, at the encouragement of a social worker who was their leader, because they believed in the value of being a good communicator. Some were also facing one of their greatest fears, The Fear of Public Speaking.
One by one, the date of the second class, they stood in front of the class and told us about themselves. Some spoke of overcoming adversity and others elaborated on their dreams, passions, and accomplishments. As each successive speaker finished and took their seats, I was amazed at how well they spoke. So were their classmates.
Finally, Mary, the only person who had not spoken, stood up at her desk. Rather then walk to the front of the room as others had done, she stood still. After a moment she turned to the group and said, “I don’t have anything to talk about.” She started to sit down.
“Wait a minute!” I exclaimed. “Didn’t I earlier hear you telling some of these people you speak to your kids every day?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“What do you talk to them about?” I asked.
“I tell them to work hard, stay away from gangs and drugs, and always be honest with themselves and me.”
“Boy, that’s great stuff!” I said. “How many children do you have?” I queried.
“Six,” was her response.
“Big family!” I pronounced. “What are they doing?” I questioned.
“Well,” she responded, “Four are in college. . . ”
“Stop right there!” I interrupted. “You have four children in college and told us you ‘don’t have anything to talk about!’ Are you kidding me!
“I’ve got a feeling many of the kids in your neighborhood never finish high school! We need to hear how you did that!”
Everyone in class agreed. Mary was too close to herself. She didn’t see the “backstory” of how marvelous it was to have four children, from an area where becoming a college student wasn’t the norm, continuing their education.
Another Point: Most of us have the same challenge Mary had; we’re too close to our own stuff.
Another Story: Let me tell you how I came to this revelation.
One day, a good friend emailed a question. I can’t remember what the question was, but I knew the answer. I happened to be sitting at my computer and quickly responded.
A few moments later I got a one word response – WOW!
I looked at that word, couldn’t figure out why he sent it, and immediately replied via email, “Why WOW!?” I went back to working on a project.
About ten minutes later I received his response. It’s relevant to the discussion we’re having about the Fear of Public Speaking because the belief some have that they have nothing interesting to talk about. He said, “Sometimes, your knowledge base is so wide and so deep – you don’t know what you know!”
Think about that statement: “You don’t know what you know!”
Each and every one of you has knowledge and experiences people could benefit from, and would love to hear.
Your Everyday could be someone’s Payday!
Your Everyday could be someone’s Aha! moment.
You’re too close to yourself, sometimes, to see things you should be speaking about and sharing with audiences. One way to “find” those Points and Stories is to work with someone who will help you find them by asking questions and prodding you for more information.
“And what did you learn from that experience?”
“How did you do that?”
Reread this Post about the value Stories have in making the Points of your Presentation. Then, follow my advice and find your Stories.
Do that, and my prediction is this:”Your next presentation will be – NO SWEAT!”
For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you Two FREE Gifts:
An Elevator Speech Template and an Elevator Speech Worksheet.
(Who hasn’t struggled with their Elevator Speech!)
Go to: http://www.nosweatpublicspeaking.com/elevator-speech-template to receive it!
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About the Author
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book,
“No Sweat Public Speaking!”
Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their
Public Speaking and Presentation Skills.
They do this because we perceive really great speakers to be Experts.
Perception is reality, and we rather deal with Experts.
They also know:
Speaking Opportunities are Business Opportunities.
Speaking Opportunities are Career Opportunities.
Speaking Opportunities are Leadership Opportunities.
He shows them how to:
Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with –
Photo Credit: Dale Gilbert Jarvis