Just finish hearing a 5 mins audio lesson by David Brooks on public speaking. For those of you who do not know him, he is the 1990 World Champion Speaker. In this week’s audio lesson, he talked about two sets of six words that can essentially cover all you need to know about public speaking. Sound too good to be true? I thought so initially but after hearing it, it does make sense. Let me give you a quick recap.
In Bill Gove’s golden gavel speech, he summarized the essence of public speaking into six words - “Tell a story, make a point”. The story does not have to be a BIG story like how you fought cancer or conquered Mount Everest. It is the everyday story that happen to you and anyone else. Not only do stories help connect with your audience instantly, it also invoked one or more of the six emotions that people can have. Namely - happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, disgust and fear (the other set of six words). If you feel these emotions in your story, it will also invoke these emotions in your audience.
Three things to note however.
- 1. Every story that you tell must make a point, else it would just be plain chatting.
2. Use your own stories! (No one can tell your story as well as you do)
3. Everything that you encounter can become a story with a lesson.
So my friends, it is really impossible NOT to have any stories to tell. Even for loners who stay home all day long, they have a story to tell like what goes on in their mind for example! So the issue isn’t really with your stories, it is more about the point that you can make with the story. Some speech coaches (even me!) suggest that you write down all interesting stories that happen to you and save them in your computer. You can even categorize them if you want to. And when you need to prepare a speech (with a ready message), you can browse through the collection of stories and pick the most appropriate one. Not only does it make your speech more interesting and personalized, it is also unique!
Take yesterday’s lecture for example. It was a really long lecture, three hours to be exact. And it was impossible to remember everything the lecturer has to say. And those that I remember, are either in the form of stories or visuals! At one point, he was explaining about the concept of red flags (i.e. all recruiters and investors nit pick so that they can select the best). And he shared with us this story.
There’s this recruiting company that has a very interesting way of filtering resumes. They will shuffle all the 200 over resumes and throw away the first 50 resumes… coz they don’t want to hire unlucky people!
It was a really simple story. Not only did he made a point (on the red flags and the unfairness of the world), it was also funny. And we really appreciate it especially after sitting through almost three hours of lecture!
So…as you are preparing your next speech or even presentation, see if you can incorporate a personal story in it. Stop giving speeches. Start telling stories!