Wake Up, People!

Transform Boring Talks Into Vibrant Story Telling

Oh dear. It’s your turn to present “the boring talk.” Facts. Data. Process. Working Party Analysis. Procedure. Treasurer’s Report. Policy Revision Announcements, again. Your shoulders droop in anticipation of everyone’s boredom, including your own. There goes that influential career, that great first impression… But wait! It doesn’t have to be like this!

Turn Boring Into Compelling Story Telling
Facts, figures and data do not engage emotion or imagination. No picture is created when detailing complex data and procedural information in a droning voice. This means your labouriously crafted fact-filled presentation just sent people to sleep or at least created a texting opportunity.

What to do? You need to create a story that demonstrates the relevance and meaning of your data that causes your listeners to care. When people care, they wake up, get engaged and take ownership of your ideas and recommendations. Stories create action!

Information sharing allows you to make sense of the data. Story sharing allows you to make connection with listeners.

Both are important and need to be mixed together. But remember, people remember feelings before facts. Set your data free and make it compelling by placing it within the context of a relevant, emotion filled, picture based, prop assisted, short story, metaphor or analogy.

How To Turn Data Into Story Telling
Step 1:
Choose your central message. Consider your data to be shared. Ask yourself, “What will make my listeners sit up and relate and then care enough to do something about it?” (Or if you were in the group – what would get your interest?)

Step 2:
Best fit – you must ensure the story is the best fit for the audience and the data. Any hint of flakiness or irrelevance will lose engagement.

Step 3:
Decide on structure – the conveyance vehicle in which to house your data. Does it best suit a simple analogy because you have only 3 minutes to speak? Is it a complex series of steps that would be better understood within in a story which has echoing steps? Do you need to give a warning? A tale of dire consequences of inaction may be best.

Step 4:
Craft a relevant short story – use sensory description to engage emotion and imagination. Then add dynamic movement and interesting props to make your data come alive with meaning and feeling. Don’t assume listeners are silly – if you paint a clear picture they will work it out for themselves (and thus become more engaged.)

Step 5:
Never hurts to practise – don’t memorise – just learn the essential bits. Keep in mind that if you are interested, you will be interesting.

Example: I Use This Story All The Time… And It’s A True Story
Dull Version:
Welcome to our annual talk on Manual Handling and Safe Lifting Practise In The Workplace. Take out your Procedural Manual and add these extra pages in – they are colour coded – yes I know there are 48 different colour codes… As you know it’s important to maintain a safe workplace. Keep a look out for electrical cords you could trip over and faulty equipment…

Vibrant Version:
I’ve fallen off my bike, I’m 10 years old, a semi trailer is coming at me. Fast. Instead of keeping my eyes on the road, I had turned around to boss my brother about.

What I learned from that experience was the importance of paying attention and of keeping my bike in safe working order. My brakes you see, had failed and I knew it but hadn’t bothered to do anything about it…. today I’m going to talk to you about the importance of keeping yourself safe in your workplace. My hope is that none of you will experience anything similar to what I did that day on the highway…

How To Work With Geraldine On Story Telling
Story telling is easy with expert, objective help. Contact Geraldine to schedule a coaching session via skype or phone or book her to run a workshop for your organisation.

© 2015, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Morph Your Speech Into Song

Monetise Your Message

The Shangri-La of many wanna-be speakers is to get paid for speaking in public and reach a wider audience. In addition to the standard keynote speech, there are many ways to monetise your message.

For instance, turn your crafted words into a workshop, published article, teleclass, MP3 audio file, or what about morphing your speech into song?

Take a look at this video of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s famous “Misogyny Speech”, named “Not Now, Not Ever”. It has been set to music and the Australian Voices choir breathes new life into an already powerful viral message, extending its influence and life span:

Apart from the fact that I love to break into melodramatic song and interpretive dance to keep listeners on the edge of their seat before they fall off it, you can also send your message out into the world via YouTube and iTunes.

Gimicky? Maybe. Creative? Definitely. Memorable? You bet.

Next time you put a speech together, think about creative ways to monetise your message and keep being heard, over and over again in different formats.

To make your next speech creative, memorable and lasting, contact Geraldine.

(c)2014, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au