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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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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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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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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?




Need help with that? Let's have a chat.


Rachel Maunder is a communication...

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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?




Why not a book a call with me...

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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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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.



Why not a book a call with me...

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Have you hung your washing out?

As I was hanging washing out recently for the first time this year, I reflected on the joy I get from recognising those small seasonal milestones.

Whether it’s cosying up with the heating on for the first time in the autumn, to the first time I see a daffodil flowering I love the signs of change.

What about you? What are your first and last milestones?

What about other firsts and lasts? That you tried a new skill, that you achieved something you’d found challenging or the first time you visited a new place?

Sharing your firsts and lasts is yet another way of letting your audience into your world and when they can identify with those experiences, however insignificant – like hanging out washing – it helps them to connect with you.

So what are your firsts and lasts? Start making a list so that you’re never stuck for an idea.

For more ideas on stories, download my free pdf 7 Simple Story Prompts 


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One step closer


It was a glorious sunny day.

I took my coat off walking along the beach - and it was still only January. I LOVE to walk without a coat. I can’t tell you how that lifted my spirits and filled with me with joy, freedom and anticipation of more days like that to come.

What are the little things that give you joy? How can you include those into your speaking and story?

They might just be vignettes rather than stories, but when the image they conjure for your audience resonates with them, they’ll recognise that at some level you’re kindred spirits, bringing them one step closer.

When they see you as a kindred spirit they’ll know you’re much more likely to understand them and your challenges - and isn’t that what we’re all looking for in someone you do business with?

What can you tell your audience about you to bring them one step closer?


Need help to explore this further? Get in touch to arrange a call


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