Storytelling is a major part of a speaker’s toolkit, and that is what the participants in The Speech Class Refresher program learned yesterday at Resource One Credit Union. You can see the participants below, along with myself and Randy Mayeux, from Creative Communication Network.
There are several reasons that stories are so important for speakers to develop and include in every presentation:
- They are memorable. You may long forget who said it, when, what for, or anything else, but you never forget the story itself.
- They are editable. You can make a story as short or long as you wish, by including or excluding details.
- They are conversational. You don’t need notes to tell a story. In most cases, you are the only person who knows the story! Just talk. Tell it like you would to a friend.
These are the stories we used yesterday, each between 90 seconds and 3 minutes.
- “The best time I ever had….”
- “The time I was most surprised…”
- “My most embarrassing moment….”
- “Something I wish I could do over is…”
All the participants did well, and we heard some great stories!
Do you have a “signature” story? Do you use it when you speak? If not, you are omitting one of the most powerful tools available to you. The great news is that you already have it! Just call it up and use it. You will do yourself and your audience a great favor.
You might call this an old-fashioned teaser, but I actually hope it whets your appetite and curiosity for some of our public speaking training.
In addition to the intensive, private coaching we offer for specific individual presentations, we have two skill-based programs that focus on public speaking. We have the 1-day program entitled The Speech Class Refresher, and the 2-day program that focuses on micro-skills, entitled Speak Up! Speak Out! Say it Well! We also have an hour-long presentation that describes best practices in delivery, but does not contain any skill development, “Ten Tips for Terrific Talks.”
We teach these inside companies and organizations, and also, typically have a public offering for each several times a year.
These are some of the delivery skills that we include in these programs:
Stories – these are wonderful tools to increase your extemporaneous delivery – tell a “case study” with elements such as when, where, who, what, reactions, and even monologue and dialogue. Try to put a story into each speech. Nothing is more memorable to an audience.
Planting – put equal weight on both legs, shoulder width apart, with your knees slightly bent. From this balanced and comfortable position, you will not rock or sway. Move all you want to, but when you “arrive,” replant.
Eye contact – divide the room into four quadrants, and look at one person in a quadrant for a single idea. Look directly at that people in your audience – not over or under them. Look them directly in the eye. When you finish, look at someone else in another quadrant. Do not go left to right across the room, making a “sprinkler effect” or a “lighthouse sweep.” Try not to “flutter” between two people – look at one, and then across the room, to someone else.
Gestures – these should be spontaneous and natural, never planned. Put your arms at your side, not in your pockets or locked behind or in front of you. Your body will tell you when to gesture. If nothing else, you can enumerate (count – “my second point is…”). Wait until you participate in Randy Mayeux‘s Velcro exercise to improve your gestures.
Podium – avoid speaking behind a podium or stand; instead, speak behind a table, where you can put your note cards down, and move around.
Conversational Delivery – work on what you want to say, rather than how. The focus is on ideas, and not on exact, pre-planned words. In this delivery style, your speech is organized, planned, and practiced, but does not rely upon any exact prepared wording that you want to use. Instead, the words you use are spontaneous and conversational. The speaker refers to key words on note cards or slides, and simply talks with the audience. This is the most popular delivery style today, because it is very efficient to prepare and practice.
It is not too early to think about hiring us to deliver a speech or presentation for your 2017 Holiday meeting, luncheon, or dinner. We give informative, entertaining, and upbeat presentations that your group is certain to enjoy, at very affordable prices. You will find us very easy to work with, and we can cater our presentations to meet your time constraints and audience focus. We are now accepting bookings for that busy season of the year.
We have spoken to many different industry groups including realtors, health care, banking, construction, engineering, quality, assisted living, government, hotel and restaurant, among others. Our experience speaks for itself, with more than 1,000 presentations each year to businesses, associations, and non-profit organizations.
BOOK US FOR YOUR HOLIDAY MEETING, LUNCHEON, OR DINNER
Karl J. Krayer, Ph.D. – “Build on Your Best”
In this fast-paced and highly entertaining presentation, Karl will show you how to get the most from human capital and relationships in organizations.
Randy Mayeux – “Building Esprit deCorps in a World of Esprit deMe”
Your audience will learn new and dynamic ways to leverage teamwork and collaborative approaches to achieve objectives at work, by transforming individual responsibilities into shared ones.
Carmen Coreas – “The War Off Drugs”
In this practical and ground-breaking presentation, Carmen will show you the dangers of unwarranted pill-popping and energy drinks, and help your audience discover healthier alternatives that will work to make a positive impact in their lives.
Like me, you may have had e-Mails bounce back when you sent a message to Randy Mayeux at Creative Communication Network the last few days.
That is because the hosting company is out of business. Check his new e-Mail in the message he sent below:
From now on, use this e-mail address:
Very sorry for the inconvenience. Very sorry!
Chip and Dan Heath are publishing their first book in 4 1/2 years. We have featured their previous books at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, which are Made to Stick (Random House, 2007), Switch (Crown, 2010), and Decisive (Crown, 2013). I use Made to Stick as a required book in my MBA Business Communication course at the University of Dallas. Randy Mayeux has delivered a workshop around the principles of Decisive, that we have facilitated for several companies.
Here is a description of their new book, from an e-Mail that I received from them today:
In this book, the Heath Brothers explore why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us—and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work.
While human lives are endlessly variable, our most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. If we embrace these elements, we can conjure more moments that matter. What if a teacher could design a lesson that he knew his students would remember 20 years later? What if a manager knew how to create an experience that would delight customers? What if you had a better sense of how to create memories that matter for your children?
This book delves into some fascinating mysteries of experience: Why we tend to remember the best or worst moment of an experience, as well as the last moment, and forget the rest. Why “we feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.” And why our most cherished memories are clustered into a brief period during our youth.
Readers discover how brief experiences can change lives, such as the experiment in which two strangers meet in a room, and forty-five minutes later, they leave as best friends. (What happens in that time?) Or the tale of the world’s youngest female billionaire, who credits her resilience to something her father asked the family at the dinner table. (What was that simple question?)
Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck—but why would we leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them? The Power of Moments shows us how to be the author of richer experiences.
Randy Mayeux and I are really excited about our upcoming book, entitled Answers to 100 Best Business Questions from 100 Best-Selling Business Books.
The book attempts to answer questions that our clients have in areas such as customer service, management, leadership, teamwork, communication skills, and strategy. The answers come from books that we have presented over the years at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. Each question and answer fits on exactly one page.
The idea for the book came from a presentation we heard last week at Success North Dallas with Jill Schiefelbein, who spoke on business video, podcasting, and livestreaming. She is called the DYNAMIC COMMUNICATOR. Her major take-away is that businesses need to answer the questions that their customers ask. I am pictured with her below.
Here is a sample page from the book to whet your appetite:
What do customers really want salespeople to know?
Ram Charan. (2007). What the customer wants you to know: How everybody needs to think differently about sales. New York: Portfolio.
The landscape for selling has changed in significant ways in the past twenty years. Customers’ quest for personal service and high quality, now rival the best possible price that they want to pay. In this best-seller, Ram Charan explains what this revolution in customer demands means for salespeople’s behavior.
What exactly has changed? Years ago, supplies were tight, and customers had to book orders months in advance, with little room to negotiate price. Salespeople transitioned from order-takers to ambassadors, identifying needs and linking them to products and services, building relationships with their customers. Today, there is a glut of suppliers and supplies, with access from the Internet to all types of locations. The customers are under pressure to deliver value to their clients. “But the pressure on customers to perform is actually a huge opportunity for those suppliers who can help them….So while they want low prices, they also want their clients to love their products and services. They want to win against their competitors and stay ahead of them…They want suppliers who can help them accomplish those things by acting as partners, not one-time transactors” (pp. 4-5)
So, what does Charan say to do? Make the focus on the prosperity of your customers. Become your customer’s trusted partner, requiring you to understand: (1) the customer’s set of opportunities and the anatomy of competitive dynamics, (2) the customer’s customers and the customer’s competitors, (3) how decisions are made in the customer’s organization, (4) the customer’s company culture and its dominant psychology and values, and (5) the customer’s goals and priorities, both short-term and long-term, clearly and specifically (p. 40).
In short, Charan tells you to measure your success by how well your customers are doing with your help. Do not focus on selling a product or service; focus on how you can help the customer succeed in all ways that are important to that customer.