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Essential Speaking Skills
All about the art of public speaking.

Things happen, pay attention!

Telling personal stories or anecdotes is one of the easiest and most effective way of connecting with your audience. It is fool-proof. You can be the most boring speaker in the entire universe but when you tell a personal story, you will automatically be forgiven. Not only do your stories build rapport with your audience, they differentiate you from the rest of the speakers. In the eyes of your audience, you are unique!

However many speakers fail to take advantage of their wealth of stories that they have accumulated over the years. It is like a gold mine waiting to be tapped! And I urge you to START MINING FOR STORIES!!!

“But I don’t have great stories to tell!”

Not true. If you open your eyes and pay attention, you will find tons of stories to tell. As Jim Key, 2003 World Champion Speaker emphasized - “Things happen, pay attention!” They may not necessarily be of Hollywood quality but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good enough. In fact with all the hype over Hollywood flicks, we are dying to hear some everyday stories that can happen to any one of us. Think back to your last dinner with your friends. Didn’t everyone has some stories to bring to the table?

Just this morning, something funny happened at my house. And I paid attention!

Room-mate 1: (complaining) My life sucks!
Room-mate 2: (earnestly) Don’t worry. It would be over soon.
Room-mate 1: My life??!!

There you go. A piping hot story that I can share with my friends and audience. And I can use it to prove a point. Instead of telling the “Is the cup half full or half empty” story (which is extremely cliche!), I could replace it with the above anecdote. 100% original. Who would have thought of it? Things happen, pay attention!

So here’s what I would encourage all of you to do. Things happen all the time. If you open your eyes and pay attention, you will be overwhelmed with stories to tell. Always keep a pencil and paper in your pocket. Every time something interesting happens, write it down. It could be a conversation with your mum. It could be an incident that happened at a restaurant. If you find it interesting or funny, write it down. Transfer it to your computer and save all these stories into one folder. You may even want to categorize your stories in whichever way you want. This folder is going to be your treasure chest. The next time you speak, open up your treasure chest and pick a couple of stories that you think would relate to your message. Incoporate them into your speeches and see how you effortlessly wow your audience away! Trust me, it works ALL the time!

“Things happen, pay attention!”