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Is it drizzling or pouring?

How many different ways can you think of to describe rain?


Here are just a few:

  • Drizzling;
  • spitting;
  • raining steadily;
  • pouring;
  • tipping it down;
  • chucking it down;
  • p***ing it down;
  • bucketing down;
  • raining cats and dogs


The English language is a wonderful thing and most of the above give a clear idea of how heavily it’s raining – but if you use them to set the scene in your story, will your audience know what they mean?


If they’re not native English speakers, possibly not.


While I’m not suggesting you stop using descriptive language to bring your stories to life, you do need to think about using language that can be understood.


If you really want to use a colloquial phrase, think about using body language and vocal expression to convey the message.


Think about your audience and find out if there will be non-native speakers among them.


(PS French speakers use ‘…comme une vache qui pisse.’ How...

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Filling the gaps

‘Sorry – can’t make it this morning. Am locked in my bedroom, waiting for the gardener to arrive.’


What image comes to mind for you?


It was the gist of a recent message in a WhatsApp group. You can imagine the comments that followed.


I’m sharing it because it’s a great example of how our brain naturally fills any gaps in information.


This will apply to your audience too when you share your story.


If you’re anxious about sharing too much of a vulnerability story, a lot of detail isn’t necessary. Give a few pointers of what happened and your listeners will fill the gaps for themselves, based on their own experience. Anyone who experienced something similar will know straight away and the others will have enough of an idea.


Do however make sure you give enough information so the gaps are filled appropriately and your message is conveyed clearly.


Too big a gap gives space for wild...

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Could you repair a puncture?

I have a confession.


I’ve loved cycling since childhood but I’ve never mended a puncture.


There was always someone to do it for me – even if I paid them to do it.


I knew in theory what to do, the one time I tried I couldn’t even achieve step 1, getting the tyre off the wheel.


It was just too hard so I didn’t try again.


Until last week - when I went to a Puncture Repair Workshop. Step by guided step, I removed the tyre, removed the inner tube, replaced it and replaced the tyre. Yay!


It gave me a ridiculous boost and I felt ready for almost anything.


Why am I telling you this?


Because facing a challenge with step-by-step guidance can make it achievable.


What’s your challenge that step-by-step expert guidance could help you meet?



If it's public speaking or storytelling, I can help you. Get in touch to find out how.

If it's puncture...

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Do people really want to hear this?

‘Do people really want to hear these ordinary stories?’


This is one of the most common questions I get asked and the answer is a resounding ‘YES’.


Then comes the challenge of remembering any.


Think back to your younger years. What are some of your stories that show an aptitude for or interest in what you do now? Or for the opposite, showing how you’ve had to develop the necessary skills and are well-placed to show others how to do the same?


What about the stories that show your sense of humour, a bit of vulnerability, that show your values and the person you really are?


I know it can feel uncomfortable or embarrassing, but honestly people love them. Your stories warm people to you.



Need help to rediscover some of your stories? Let's arrange a chat.

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

She has been in the world...

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Imagine the moment

My interest was fading fast. I was at a prestigious business event, focusing on successful women and their journey to that success. The speakers were all – you guessed it – successful women.


They were not, however, successful at engaging their audience. It seemed that their brief had been to share their stories of how they came to where they are now and they did just that.


They started at the beginning, telling us what they studied at school, at college/university followed by what happened next, and then…, and then….


Please don’t ever do that!


Find a time in your story when the outcome was uncertain. Maybe waiting for the outcome of an interview, a moment of indecision, of when a different action could have changed the whole course of your life.


Take your audience to that moment of tension and then go back from there. Let them imagine the moment.


I can help you craft those stories. To find out how I work,...

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Nurturing your audience

‘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...

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Persepolis, Perspolis, Persepolis

My history teacher at school used to repeat key words 3 times and Persepolis is one that stuck – from all those years ago!! So repetition clearly works.


It’s a really effective way of reinforcing your key points and also of making your content hang together.


Repeating key points gives them gravitas and additional meaning. You can either repeat a word or phrase 3 times one after the other, as with ‘Persepolis, or seed them at key points throughout the presentation, perhaps after another piece of supportive information.


It also works well to repeat a less key phrase for continuity. For example, ‘I’d like to see (this change); I’d like to see (that change); I’d like to see (the other change). That kind of repetition adds to your credibility as a speaker.


So how can you use repetition?


(And if you know anything about Persepolis do let me know!!)



Want help with creating your signature talk? I can...

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A bit of history

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.


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Making every word count

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...

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What were we talking about?

 How often do you find yourself talking to someone and you’re both fully engaged in the conversation, but suddenly someone says ‘what were we talking about?’


What probably happened is that one of you interrupted the flow of conversation – and concentration - by introducing another topic or story and you’ve forgotten what the original topic was.


This can happen in your business talks too. I call it ‘taking your audience down a rabbit hole’ and it’s to be avoided.


It happens when you include a part of your story that’s not relevant to your key message. However fascinating a part it is, if it’s not relevant then it confuses your audience and leaves them wondering what you’re talking about.


So when you’re deciding which bits of your story to include, keep asking yourself ‘is it relevant to my key message this time?’ If it’s not, leave it for another time.



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