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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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Seize the moment

Have you ever missed an opportunity and regretted it?


Mine was bungee jumping.


We’d already spent a while at the Kaiwura Bridge, New Zealand, the claimed home of bungee jumping, waiting for my daughter’s turn.


‘Oh Mum! you really should do it!’ she said, as she returned, lit up from her experience.


In that moment I decided to give it a go. Chances are I may never come back to this spot again and I wouldn’t want to live with the regret of chickening out.

But just then a coach-load of eager jumpers alighted and joined the queue.


The wait for my turn was going to be too long. We were on a schedule.


If only I’d been brave enough to say ‘yes’ when Hannah did.


15 years on, it’s probably not something I would do now but I wish I’d done it then.


What moment are you waiting to seize?


If it’s anything to do with public speaking or improving your communication...

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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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Two good reasons for sharing stories

I’d just finished work on a cold wintry evening and was looking forward to getting home.

And then I noticed that my car had 4 flat tyres. Yes, 4!

I was working with juvenile offenders at the time and they’d taken the set of darts from our centre and put them through my tyre walls – just for fun.’

I’d forgotten about this story until a conversation with a colleague who had also worked with young offenders and shared a similar story, triggering my memory of mine.

With that shared experience on the table, our conversation picked up pace because we’d found a connection.

So 2 good reasons for sharing stories:

     1. One person’s story triggers another

     2. Shared stories increase rapport.


So when can you get together with someone for a conversation? The stories will probably come naturally and remember to make a note of them.

If you need help to reconnect with those stories, download my FREE pdf 7 Simple...

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Life as a delivery girl

There was no real reason to turn down the offer of a temporary job as a butcher’s delivery person.

Aged 18 with no income, and not much happening in my life at the time, the wackiness of the whole idea somehow appealed.

But I HATED it!

No Satnavs to help me find where I was supposed to go, no mobile phones to connect. Parking outside the shop on the busy street to collect the next round of orders was even harder.

The guys in the butchers thought it was hilarious. What was a GIRL doing, doing the deliveries anyway?

But I had people I couldn’t let down, so I stuck with it for the agreed time.

It’s a story I can use as an example of being up for a challenge, tenacity, loyalty, etc.

What are the forgotten stories from your background that you can use in your talks?


For help with finding those forgotten stories, check out my
Story Prompt Cards and Story Prompt Journal on the Resources page


Rachel Maunder is a communication skills and speaker...

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We don’t always need perfection

The Thomas the Tank Engine cake I’d made for my son’s 2nd birthday had collapsed. The brown and blue icing had run into each other leaving a pool of icing around the plate.

But hey! The 2 year olds could see that it was Thomas and we Mums had a laugh.

One Mum came into my kitchen, closed the door and said ‘Please don’t take this the wrong way.’

She described how she would have binned the cake and started again, losing sleep, getting stressed, etc.

She admired me for using it and showing that it wasn’t the disaster she would have mentally created had it been her cake.

The point was that the cake was fit for purpose and the overall cost of starting again was too great.

What have you abandoned at great cost to yourself, when actually it would have been fit for purpose? We don’t always need perfection.


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

She has been in the world of competent...

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What do using a running app and working with a coach have in common?

storytelling examples Apr 25, 2023

A somewhat reluctant runner, I must admit that running has its benefits as means of keeping fit.

It’s relatively quick, it can be done almost anywhere, and I can do it while ‘walking’ the dog.

Using one of the many running apps available changed my perspective on running.

Before using the app, I would run for 20 minutes in the hope of completing 2 miles, or close enough.

With the app, I set 2 miles as the target, and on the 1st attempt took 22 minutes 47 seconds.

So, I set myself the relatively small goal of working towards running 2 miles within my 20 minutes.

I was much more excited about my running with that achievable target to work towards. I had increased motivation, greater output, and an inner confidence that this could lead to greater results.

While I was running, it occurred to me that the role of this app is similar to the role of a specialist coach.

Working on your own, it’s all too easy to set targets and hope to get near enough ’to...

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