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How many stories?

A question I’m often asked is ‘How many stories is it OK to include?


The answer of course is ‘It depends.’


It depends on the message you’re using the stories to convey. Does using more than one add value to your message and to your audience or does it water down the value of the single one you might share?


Can a talk be one long story? Again, it depends.


Some stories are powerful enough to not really need a narrative. The message or learning is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be spelt out.


Others are not and you’ll need to let the audience what you, or the main character learned from their experience within that story.


It all comes back to basics. Which stories, or parts of a story do you need to tell this particular audience to convey this particular message?




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Mind your language

Have you noticed how different groups and organisations have their in-phrases that everybody uses, that don’t mean much at all to others outside the group?


During my time as Cabin Crew, one of our in-questions was ‘Are you going or have you been?’ meaning, are you about to go out on a trip of have you just arrived home.


When stopped for speeding on the airport perimeter road by a policeman and asked where I was going, my default reply was ‘I’m not going anywhere. I’ve just been.’


‘Now we must be going somewhere, mustn’t we?’ he said, in that semi-amused semi condescending way police officers often have.


He clearly didn’t know Air Crew speak.


Back on sensible street, the conversation continued and I was allowed on my way with a warning.


It’s the same when you’re addressing an audience. Make sure that your phrases and language match theirs. If they’re not in...

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Owning your expertise

Presenting with confidence isn’t just about being a confident presenter. It’s also about owning your own expertise.


I recently had a meeting with someone who was looking for a new trainer on a specific area of my expertise and I was keen to impress.


I started by thinking about how they might find me lacking. Frantically trying to do last-minute research on the topic, I stopped and took a breath.


I stopped to remind myself that I knew this stuff. I’d been doing it for years and training in it for almost as long. That was all I needed to get across.


It’s the same for you. When you relax and remind yourself that you know your stuff, some of your anxiety about presenting will go away, leaving you to focus on sharing that expertise.


Plan, prepare, practise – and relax.




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Creating connections

Within less than a minute of small talk with a prospective client, I learned that she’s game for an adventure such as kayaking, is married to someone she enjoys spending time with and has children.


I learnt that because she told me how she’d spent her weekend.


As it happens, I’m also someone who’s game for things like kayaking so we’re already resonating with each other at a different level. We created a meaningful connection.


And that’s what sharing information about yourself can do.


Even if you shy away from sharing stories as such, just letting your audience take a peek into your world tells them something about you, about the things you like to do and about your lifestyle and that’s what can create connection.


People like to work with people they relate to and can have that connection with – so how can you take more of yourself to your business?




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Is there such thing as a true memory?

One of the things I love about podcasts is that I often hear a phrase that really makes me think.


‘There’s no such thing as a true memory’ is one of those lines.


We talk about our memories being something that nobody can take away from us.


But are those memories true?


The speaker explained that because we’re constantly evolving and changing ourselves, however imperceptibly, our view or perception of the memory is slightly changing too so that we recall it differently as we move through life.


What then does that say about stories?


They too are subject to perception both from the storyteller and the listener, so even though you might see little value in sharing your story, it might be just what someone else needs to hear at that moment in time.


Why not a book a call with me now to see how I can help?


Rachel Maunder is a communication skills and speaker coach and...

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Living someone elseโ€™s story

Walking along the beach in glorious sunshine I chatted to a family having a picnic lunch.


‘What better way to spend Mother’s Day!’ the father exclaimed. The mother didn’t look so convinced.


It seemed he’d already been trying to persuade her to his way of thinking and there was a bit of an atmosphere.


Maybe she’d had her sights set on a different scenario – a luxury lunch served at a table-clothed table, with a glass of fizz to hand.


It made me reflect on how often we might find ourselves living someone else’s story and/or trying to persuade someone else to live the story we’ve written for them.


‘You don’t really want to….’.


‘If I was you I would…’


No right or wrong here but sometimes it’s important to note when you’re living your own story and when you’re not – and when or how you can change that.


Why not a...

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Burglars still have boundaries

Working with juvenile offenders and exploring the young people’s offending behaviour, we were discussing the impact on people when their home gets burgled.


’How do you think it feels to discover that someone’s come into your home and made a mess?’ I asked.


Jamie spoke up and became upset.


‘I would never make a mess! That’s someone’s home!’


On exploring this, in his world it was OK to take possessions (in this case TV, stereo, etc.) - because after all they’re covered by insurance – but it was crossing the line to make a mess.


I was intrigued – and learnt a lesson.




Snippets of conversations can be useful to:

  • Tell people something about your background and insights.
  • Demonstrate how we all make assumptions.
  • Show that we all have different boundaries and see things differently.


When a conversation intrigues you, note it down. You never know when it will be...

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Why would the road be wet?

Driving home recently from an outdoor party, I noticed as I was getting near to my home town that the road was wet – very wet, with puddles at the sides.


‘I wonder what’s happened here?’ I thought. ‘Perhaps there’s been a burst waterpipe.’


It was only when I realised that the roads were very wet for the final 2- 3 miles home that it dawned on me that there must have been a local downpour.


I laughed at myself for not thinking of that in the first place. I live in England after all!


But no rain had been forecast, it had stayed dry for the party and we hadn’t had rain in a few weeks so it wasn’t my first thought.


That made me think about how our experience shapes our viewpoint and perception and why it’s important to hear from people with different experiences and different perceptions.


Which is why it’s important to share your stories.



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Eyes or ears?

Imagine a situation where what you can see doesn’t quite match what you’re hearing.
It might be one of those film clips where the original soundtrack is replaced by something else, designed to make you laugh. Imagine some footage of a formal occasion where the voices and music indicate a completely different scenario.


When our eyes and ears are bringing us conflicting messages it can become confusing.


Picture someone saying how passionate they are about their topic while slouching and their head hanging down.


Picture the opposite, where someone is bouncing around seemingly full of energy at the same time as saying that they’re the shy retiring type.


Do you believe your eyes or your ears?


It’s the same when you’re giving a talk or presentation. However underconfident you’re feeling, act as if you are feeling confident and your audience will believe their eyes.


Do you need help with becoming more confident in...

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Good morning Vietnam


Do you remember the movie Good Morning Vietnam, where the character played by Robin Williams started his daily radio show with that greeting?

How do you usually address your audience in your talks and presentations?

If you want to make sure you’re being seen to include all of your audience, using ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ is no longer fit for purpose. What about someone who chooses to identify as something other than male or female?

A simple way around that is to greet the location, the event itself, or the name of the organisation you are addressing. ‘Good morning London;’ ‘’Good morning (name of organisation);’ or even ‘Good morning everybody.’

Even if you’re confident that everyone in your audience identifies as male or female, there may well be some who takes notice of how current you are in the way you address your audience.

So just remember Robin Williams.


If you would like to know more,...

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