Every speaker wants to connect with the audience. Without connection, no transformation takes place. Information alone is not enough to engage the listener and forge the emotional connection that will change the audience’s condition. For that, you need stories. Stories, and the oxytocin that results from experiencing them, are how we forge bonds of empathy with each other.
But there is a chance you are resisting that idea. I know this because I have seen it in my coaching. Clients say to me, “But, David, what if I don’t have a story to tell? I’ve got compelling information, and I believe...
Most of the entries in this blog contain speaking tips, and many of those touch on the topic of using stories more effectively. (Click here for a good example.) Good storytelling lies at the heart of good public speaking.
“But,” you may be thinking, “where do I find these stories?” Answer: the best stories come from your own life. And the best place to go for stories, the next time you start working on a speech, is your story file.
Every speaker should have a story file. Whether you keep it in a notebook that is always with you, or in a document on your computer, you need to write...
“Nothing at the moment,” I hear you reply. Of course, we know speakers must rehearse their speeches, but that’s not the type of rehearsal that is the subject of this post. I’m talking about how you rehearse for life. When the curtain goes up, what will you fall back on? What kind of self-talk will influence the choices you make?
In December 2007, I was indulging in my favorite avocation, performing on stage in a community theatre production of The Wizard of Oz. I played the Cowardly Lion. Midway through the second act during a Sunday matinee, I mis-stepped and fell from a platform to the stage...
As I wrote in my last post, research has shed light on how people (including your audiences) form those all-important first impressions. The two questions they are looking to answer, in this order, are “Can I trust this person?” and “Can I respect this person?”
In this post, I focus on the first question. By the time you finish reading this, you will have three techniques at your disposal to build trust with your audiences.
Share your failures as well as your successes. I already gave you this tool in my last post, but I’ll repeat it for those who skipped class! Of course you want...
Why seek to improve the way we write and speak? One reason that is often cited is to make a good first impression. But what does that mean, exactly? What are first impressions based on? It turns out, we finally have a research-based answer to that question.
Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy, in her new book, Presence, says people judge you quickly based on two factors:
Can I trust this person?
Can I respect this person?
These two dimensions are known by psychologists as warmth and competence. Interestingly, most people – according to Cuddy – get their priority wrong. She says...
Two conversations. Two different people. Two different needs. And the same two words to help them both.
Recently, I was coaching a client in preparation for a job interview. My client – I’ll call him Ken – was practicing a useful framework for structuring interview responses based on the acronym “STAR,” which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. (I have been unable to find the original source of this framework.) For example, in response to the prompt, “Tell us about a time when you realized a team member was under-performing,” Ken could recount something like the following:
‘Tis the season to give. And to give up. I mean “give up” not in the sense of surrendering, but in the sense of letting go. What do you need to let go of, in order to move into the new year unencumbered by baggage?
A leadership principle
There is a leadership principle I teach in workshops under the title “Leadership Listening.” In a nutshell, the principle is this: leadership always involves change, and change always involves loss. Before I describe the implications of this claim, let me take a moment to explain it.
Why do I say leadership always involves change? The answer...
Let's stop asking students what they want to be or do when they grow up. Ask them what problem they want to solve!
-Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist, Google
What problem do you solve? More to the point of this blog, what problem can you help other people solve by telling your story?
In the spring of 2001, I was diagnosed for the first time with major clinical depression. In about 2008, I gave my first speech about that experience to my Toastmasters club in Billings, Montana. Shortly after that, a fellow club member, TM, confided in me about her personal struggle with bipolar...
Last week, I gave a series of daylong seminars in four cities. The daily topic was time management, with attention to related topics like personal organization and stress reduction. Stress was the last topic each day. What I love about this kind of teaching is that I always learn something. Last week I learned (once again!) the value of speaking with vulnerability.
In case you wonder what I mean by that, I refer you to a previous post on the topic. The ability to be vulnerable with others is something that Brené Brown, one of my favorite authors, has written about. In her book, Daring Greatly,...
This post deviates from my usual pattern in two ways: it’s not really about storytelling, and it’s on video! In fact, it’s a video about video…and about how to avoid the most common mistakes I see people make.
Comments? Questions? Suggestions for other topics you’d like to see covered here? Please feel free to leave them below.