I had a chance to go to one of those big positive thinking rallies recently. I am one of those positive personal growth people that really enjoy that kind of thing. Throughout the day, I heard presentation after presentation from some of the best professional speakers in the business; General Tommy Franks, Mayor Rudy Guiliani, legendary Comedian Jerry Lewis and my hero, Zig Ziglar. They presented and spoke amazingly well. They were original.
A couple of the other speakers (I will not name them) also did a fair job, but what I could not get past was that I had heard some of the jokes they told and some of the illustrations they used ? THAT DAY! I paid $80 to see some of the world's best speakers and most of what I saw was fantastic. I got my moneys worth. Heck, I would have paid the $80 just to see Zig. As a professional speaker myself, I observe, even take notes. I look for the "job well done" and the "well, I'm glad their job is done" in my profession.
I want to encourage you to never be the person telling a joke that someone has already heard or someone else's story. ALWAYS approach your subject from a fresh and original point of view. How do you arrange to be original when you give talks on the exact same information another speaker does?
Bill Gove, one of public speaking's true legends said that speaking is easy.
Make a point Tell a story
Make a point Tell a Story
Make a point Tell a story
Get it? It's simple.
The 1990 world champion of public speaking, David Brooks took what Gove said and added the unique to it. David said, make a point, and tell YOUR story.
Here is the good news; you don't have to be an Olympic champion or have climbed Mount Everest to have good stories. In fact, having great stories of everyday life will make you more accessible to your audience and isn't the goal of good communication to connect with your audience?
How do you collect these stories? David Brooks recommends that we create a story file or notebook. Pay attention to your own life and look for the stories. They are there; you just need to look for them. When you see a fun and humorous story, write it down. When you see a poignant or reflective story write it down. If you catch yourself thinking about something in an unusual or interesting sort of way, write it down. Are you beginning to notice a pattern here?
Pay attention, write it down and use it.
Use your story file or notebook as a resource when you are preparing for a presentation. I like to think about the points I want to make, and then go through the file to find stories that support the point.
For example, I was enduring a booth at a trade show as a salesperson when a couple of my company's current clients walked and immediately asked "why is your software so much more expensive than everyone elses? I looked at them and in a mere nanosecond reflected on the pain I was in.
For the past two days I had stood in a trade show booth over 10 hours a day. My feet and even my legs were killing me. I answered my price sensitive clients with "do you like my shoes? They thought I was crazy. I said, "No really. Do you like my shoes?" I went on. "I think these shoes look good. They are classy looking and they shine up real well, but I want you to know that they are killing my feet." My clients really didn't know what to think now, but they were listening, so I continued.
"When I bought these shoes, I was shopping for a bargain. I wanted some good looking shoes for under $30.00. I got em'. What I have learned about these shoes as I have stood in them over the past 30 hours is that they are lousy, cheap shoes and that they are causing me an enormous amount of pain. If you had walked into this booth today and asked me if I wanted to buy a pair of the most comfortable shoes in the world, I would not have asked you what they cost. I would have only asked if you took VISA."
The two clients were still listening. "It's true. Most of the other software vendors here offer a good looking package for a lot less money. My only question to you is, do you want to own the least expensive solution or the most reliable and accurate solution?
I then offered them a nifty little ball point pen with my company's logo on it and wished them a good day. I should have spent some more time asking them questions about what they wanted and needed to have happen to know that they were using the best solution, but I just wanted to sit down.
When I want to give an example of value over price, I tell that story. It helps. Most people have experienced a product that is too cheap to get the job done and this story helps us connect.
Here we go with the quick overview:
Pay attention to your life's story's. Write them down. Use them.
Got it? Good. Thank you
Steve Brummet is a communication expert, writer and speaker. Steve's company specializes in working with organizations of all types to help their people increase productivity and profit and decrease stress by improving communication skills.
As a writer, Steve has been published in Parenting Success, People of Faith and Family-content.com
Steve says his clients include a Lions Club in Sherman Texas, his mother in law's ladies group and SOMETIMES his wife and four children will listen to him for just a little while.