Effective leaders use stories to communicate.
These stories inspire their teams and help to ‘sell’ their ideas. If you’re not convinced of the power of story telling and how it embodies a message that can be recalled later, then think of how many times you have been fascinated by a great story. You will recall the broad facts, the message, the purpose of the story and you will recall how it has made you think, act and feel differently. Stories told correctly inspire and can transform understanding into action.
Still not convinced? Then think of the times when you have been captivated by someone speaking, then rewind that conversation and listen to where they offered to ‘let me tell you a story about…..’
Great leaders know how to use stories to illustrate key points and sell their ideas.
If you want to become a persuasive motivator, then think of the type of story you are looking to tell depending on the different circumstances. Are you telling people about yourself? OR why you are there? Are you looking to teach someone something, or share your vision with them? Are you a leader with integrity and showing your own values in action? Or are you sympathising with the listener to demonstrate you understand what they are feeling?
Whatever the approach, learning to speak in public is one of the greatest gifts an education can give you. Hence, if you can’t speak in public, then treat this as a skills shortage and do something about, for example, join your local Toastmaster club.
If you’re looking for some quick key tips to keep in mind when you are telling your stories, then consider the following:
- Be authentic – Talk from your heart and do not fake emotion in a hope of gaining sympathy from your audience. A listener will see through this, and your story will be lost.
- Seek feedback from your audience – Watch the interaction of your audience and ensure that you do not ‘lose’ them. If your story is too long, it will probably be thought of as boring.
- Practice, practice, practice – Aim to be able to deliver the story without a script, or prompts. Practice in front of a mirror ore record yourself on camera and review your mannerisms.
- Create an experience – When you tell a story, you create that experience for the audience. Do not rely on your words, but the other senses as well to articulate the story. For example, if you talk about someone who was stood behind you, then point or turn behind you. If you’re talking about past and present, then use left and right movements to distinguish past from present. Move around and ‘work’ your stage. Show your listeners the picture you’re painting, don’t just tell them. Engage all five senses in every story: taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell. They’ll make your story come alive.
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