When I say to people, ‘Tell me your story’ it gives them permission to be real. It gets rid of any pressure to be perfect and that is when the gold comes out. So do this to yourself. Hit record on your on your phone and say, ‘Tell me your story, how did you get here?’ Then answer for five minutes. It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as it is true.
Now play back your answer. As you listen, see what sticks. What headlines ring out for you? Grab a pen and paper and write them down.
Now take those headlines and use them to start a presentation of your story – a two-minute answer, not five. Hit record, ask the question and leap in with one of those headlines.
Now you will be starting to speak in what I call story flow. You are bound to have missed some key ingredients, so ask yourself these two questions:
What was sticky? What stuck to you as you were speaking?
What do I want more of? What did you miss that you wish you had put in?
Now you know what the missing ingredients are, it’s time to present with energy.
Imagine there is a deaf old lady called Joan who comes from the north of England (and likes her tea with milk and two sugars). If you can get her to hear what you are saying, you will get what you only dreamed possible. How do you do that to a deaf old lady? Over-pronounce your words so she can lip read, speak in shorter sentences and speak louder. It will feel silly but will reveal which words matter and which words don’t.
If you do these five things in practice, when it comes to the real thing and you have to present normally – not to deaf Joan –you will be trained, prepared and ready to engage your audience.
You can’t control people, but you can control what you give them. Give them a great story!