I dare you to dig deep for your stories...I double DARE you.
When you think of finding stories, you likely have found out that stories can be everywhere. They can be events that happened to you a long time ago, or simple moments that are very recent and taught you a life lesson. If you took a logical approach to finding stories in the past, I'll challenge you to take a slightly different approach – get emotional.
Many speakers fail to make an emotional connection with their audience, because they develop their story, then try to add areas that can evoke emotion. Here's something to try – reverse the process. Instead of thinking of emotion after, start with it. Begin by “Finding the Feeling Place” - search for specific emotions, then ask, “What story brought that out of me?” For this blog, think of the acronym D.A.R.E. For 4 specific emotions to feel, then bring the corresponding story out from.
I believe it was Mary Kay who said that everyone has an invisible sign around their neck that reads “Make me feel Special”.
Everyone wants to feel important. There is a reason that Dale Carnegie says that your name is the most important word in any language to you. Most speakers believe that they are special, and that the audience is simply there to soak in what they have to say. As speakers, we are not gurus. We simply borrow advice from the Universe, our mentors, and those that have gone before us, and we share it. Let's work on making our audiences the stars of our talks, not ourselves.
How do you make each audience that you speak to feel special? One word: Customization.
Use any of the following 5 methods when you speak to customize your talk for each audience that you share it with. Keep in mind that these can be small adjustments that you make to an already existing talk. Make these small additions to your speech, and your audience will truly feel unique and special.
I took my first Uber ride in 2016. I wasn't avoiding the company for any particular reason. However, I just thought I'd try something new.
After the ride, I decided one thing: I'm not going back to regular taxi cab rides ever again.
Why? Is it because the Uber ride was so much better? Was the driver the nicest person I'd ever driven with? Did they give me superior service?
None of the above. Sure, the app is cool – you can look at exactly where your driver is and follow them online as they get closer to you. And yes, the driver was friendly. The service was pretty good too. However, the reason I'll go with Uber is simple – the ride was cheaper.
Nothing mind-boggling. The ride was cheaper, the app is cool, I'm going with Uber over taxi. Along with thousands of others. Why?
If you turn to Chapter 7 of John Maxwell's book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”, you'll pick up a key secret to life.
He calls it “The Law of Design”.
It could also be the law for speaking.
Maxwell states that in order to maximize growth, the key is to develop strategies. In other words, develop systems for doing things. I resonated with this chapter because I also have systems for everything. Processes that I follow for almost everything. When I get up in the morning, I have a system for starting my day. When I go to the gym, I have a planned system for the workout that I will do. When I write a speech, I have a system of steps and questions that I answer before the story is finalized. This may seem rigorous, but it helps me to stay productive and accomplish my goals.
Perhaps there are some that are too systemized. Maybe I'm one of them. However, there are far more people that simply don't have enough systemization in their lives. Systems lead to success. In life, and in speaking.
I encourage you to develop your own systems for your speeches. In the meantime, here's a system of 3 questions that you can use as a checklist to ensure that your message is heard by and resonates with your audience.
How to Write a Speech Outline: Here are your 3 Steps to Writing a Speech Outline!
Get Your Free Speech Outline Guide: http://bit.ly/speechoutlineguide
Remember this...."Structure FREES you, it doesn't FREEZE you." (Darren LaCroix, World Champion Speaker)
Kwesi Millington helps speakers, presenters and youth to connect with their audiences and master their messages using the power of storytelling in their speeches & presentations. He is a Certified Public Speaking Coach & Youth Mentor.