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Capture Stories to Make Your Talks Compelling

 

By now you know that I believe in telling stories to make talks interesting, engaging and compelling.  Did you also know that telling your story relaxes and calms you, and it frees your body to express more naturally and creatively?

 

I used to think that I did not have any stories to tell.  I thought stories were hard to tell. But I have learned that stories are all around us, everyday.  Big stories, little stories.  Even the smallest moment where something happened can become a powerful story.

 

A story is just what happened.  When you say, “You will never guess what happened!” you are about to tell a story.  How many times a week do you think about telling a friend or relative what happened?  A bunch!

 

Train yourself to start capturing stories.  When you are going through an experience that is interesting, exciting, challenging or unusual, make a mental note to capture the experience as a story.  Just write it down and then try to tell it aloud later in the day or week.  If you really want to build your stories, keep a story log – a journal of all the stories you captured.  Include the lesson of the story – what you learned from the experience.

 

I have been teaching storytelling to corporate and private clients for several years.  I encourage people to use them in meetings, networking and presentations of all kinds.  Sometimes it is the simplest story that can make a difference in a presentation.  Here’s a story about storytelling. I call this my Chris Campbell Story.

 

My first Project Interview coaching job was with a team of young engineers at KBR.

One of KBR’s young project managers, Chris Campbell told a story while we were preparing to present for a project interview to TEXDOT for the Austin Turnpike Project.

 

Chris told us of being out on the road New Years Day as they were about to open the Dallas Turnpike tollbooths.  He was in the back of the truck with the construction guys picking up orange cones and throwing them in the back of the pickup.  Suddenly at noon, the gates opened and cars started going through the gates.  He could hear the change going KA Ching as cars moved through the tollbooths. 

 

We used that story to open his presentation.  It gave us the theme for the whole presentation. It did several things for KBR’s presentation to TEXDOT:

 

1.      It entertained the selection panel. They later commented positively to the proposal manager!

 

2.      It showed them how hands-on Chris would be.

 

3.      It reminded them of the money to be made with the tollroad.

 

4.      While they did not get hired for that project, TXDOT actually came back to them later and asked them to handle another project.

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