Sometimes an active speaker shares their story so often that they themselves become bored. They begin to share it without feeling, meaning, or connection. As a result, it doesn’t move on the audience. The purpose of your professional story is to build rapport with your audience, earn the right to speak about your topic and connect with them on an emotional level. If you are bored with your own story so will your audience be. It’s time to freshen it up.
How to Freshen Up Your Story
Here are a few techniques to freshen up your story and keep it from going stale.
First, review your story and see if there is something new you can add to it. For example, add a new situation or idea that brings in new life. This happened to me. After one of my speeches, a colleague of mine who has heard my story a thousand times walked up to me after my speech and said, “It sounds like you’re bored with your story.” He was right. I was bored and I didn’t realize it. I took a closer look at my story to see where I could bring in something new and leave out what’s no longer working for me. Today, I continually review my story, message, and speech and refresh whatever needs freshening up and keep it alive.
Once you’ve figured out what to add or change in your story, the next step is to re-practice telling your story. Remember, your audience has not heard your story a thousand times, instead, they are likely hearing for the first time. Take them on the journey with you. Tell your story as if it’s their first time hearing it and your first time telling it. Tell it with full excitement and enthusiasm.
Show the audience how you really feel about the situation you’re talking about. If you come to a place that is sad, it’s okay to show them that you’re sad. You may want to show your emotions by slowing down your speech, being thoughtful, pausing, and you may even get quiet for a moment. If it’s an exciting part of the story, show your excitement by increasing your volume, picking up the pitch, and talking a little faster. Speak like you just can’t wait to share your story and the excitement you have around it. Because if you don’t feel it, your audience won’t feel it either.
Like a fairytale, you want to end your story on a happy note. If you bring your audience down or make them sad, find a way to bring them back up and give them hope. More importantly, when you share your story, make sure that you have healed from any trauma it may have caused you before you share it with the audience. Then you can show your courage and that you’ve overcome trauma. Just know, that when you hold back the tears, that will create tears in your audience. They will be moved and emotionally connected with you. However, if you are bawling your eyes out, they will be embarrassed for you and uncomfortable. When you heal first, you can share your story without showing the raw emotions you once felt. Otherwise, you could lose control of yourself and your audience.
The more richness you can bring into your story the better your overall speech will be. Take the time to refresh your story and keep it from becoming stale.
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