‘I loved how you told that story. I felt like a child at nursery school being read to, feeling all warm and cosy. It was wonderful!’
That’s what stories do. They make the listener feel warm and cosy and much more drawn to you than when you just share information. Stories transport listeners to a much more comfortable place.
To emphasise the point, this was feedback a client had after adding a story to a business presentation at her networking group. They already knew what she did and had heard her speak about it before – but this time it was different. She had added a personal story. Nothing earth shattering – but a personal story about how she helped a client.
You too can achieve that difference in response from your audience – and if you need any help with finding or crafting those stories then please get in touch.
Rachel Maunder is a communication skills and speaker coach...
How often do you think about your family history and whether it’s similar or different from your life now?
I hardly ever do so I thought I’d share a bit of it here. You can decide for yourself whether you find it interesting and whether sharing some of yours might also be a valuable thing to do.
Both my parents were born to working class country people, my Mum one of 11 children and my Dad an only child. Money was scarce on both sides and most of their fruit and veg was home grown by my respective Grandads.
One Grandad was forester, and the other a taxi driver, driving a horse and trap instead of a car.
My parents met making Spitfires during the war. My Mum could never understand why that was interesting.
What parts of your family history would let your audience know more about you?
To find out how I can help with pulling out some of that history, get in touch and let’s have a chat.
Hands up if you enjoyed doing precis at school....
At the time I hated it but I’ve more recently realised how useful it is to me now, in honing my message.
Over the summer I dusted off some pieces I’d written but never used. I wanted to shorten them and there’s nothing like an exercise like that for gaining real clarity about your message.
The first edit was around what’s relevant or not to the key point. Then it was about how to say the same thing in a more succinct way.
I apply the same principle to these weekly tips. In case you haven’t noticed, they’re never more than 150 words.
It’s something I help my clients do when it comes to gaining clarity of message in their talks and presentations too. So often less is more.
Let me know if you’d like my help with this. Get in touch to arrange a chat.
Rachel Maunder is a communication skills and...
Do you have a favourite place? Perhaps more than one?
And what on earth does that have to do with promoting your business?
By sharing your insights on some of your favourite places and why tells your audience something about you. Do you like the bustle of a city, or a secluded island beach, or is somewhere from your childhood dear to your heart?
It doesn’t even need to be a specific location but might be some thing like the bow of a ship in a storm, the quiet and cool of a place of worship or the buzz of a busy market.
Just giving your reflections on anywhere does the job and of course at a later date you can write or speak about somewhere else. What does need to be genuine are those reflections because they’re the window to you, the person behind the business persona.
‘Your favourite place’ is just one of over 100 prompts you’ll find in my Story Prompt Cards and Story Journal.
To get the other 99 check the cards and...
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...
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?
Why not a book a call with me...
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...
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.
Why not a book a call with me...
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...
‘You’ve taught me how to read properly.’
Honoured to be asked to read a popular bible reading at my niece’s wedding, I wanted to make it a bit different. I wanted to read it so that people would really listen as they’d possibly never listened before and for 1 person at least as this feedback shows, I achieved that.
How had I done that?
I had to read it as if I’d never read it before – but as with all good presentations, that required practise.
I experimented with which words and phrases to emphasise; I practised looking out at the congregation; I practised so that I could read it without my emotions tripping me up.
It’s the same with your own presentations. You need to practise so much that it sounds as though you just made it up.
Need help with that? Get in touch to arrange a call.
Rachel Maunder is a communication skills and speaker coach and professional speaker.