Here we go! It feels like I’m rounding third base and beginning my slide into December 31st. The final sprint. I’ve been doing a lot of introspective work this year, none of which I’ve written about but I’ll wind down the year with some of my insights. The stories we tell others are very much informed by the stories we tell ourselves, so it felt like a good time to shift gears as we slam on the brakes after rounding third base.
In October, I attended Speakership in Sydney, Australia to level up my keynote speaking skills and that’s when, much to my surprise, anger, and even embarrassment, I bumped into my irony of expertise.
I wasn’t doing a good job telling my story.
We were practicing delivering five-minute bits to the class. I was sharing a story I typically tell when my mentor, Matt Church, banged the proverbial gong with a profuse ‘thank you and a round of applause for Lisa, please’ which was a nice way of saying, “too long” I felt a wave of emotion at that moment. I was mad and that anger was directed at me. It was telling me I can do better.
Let me pull apart what happened because I believe it will be useful to you in your storytelling journey.
I wasn’t getting to the point quickly enough because I thought I needed way more setup than I actually do. Unless you are in a storytelling slam or on stage with The Moth, your audience is not there to “hear your story.” Your story is like the background music in a restaurant. People did not come to have dinner to listen to you. The music supports the experience, setting the stage for their conversations and an enjoyable time. Likewise, your story in a presentation or conversation supports a bigger purpose.
So don’t fall in love, like I did, with the telling of the details of your story. Instead, get to the point faster. This is hard to do. We become attached to the details that lead up to The Moment and can’t imagine the story without them. It’s why Ann Lamott calls it “kill your darlings.” We, as tellers, have to make hard choices, and when you do, your story is so much better for it, but more importantly, your audience’s attention is captured. As is their gratitude.
You’d be surprised how few details you need to set the context for your story. If you’ve seen me speak since October, you received the shortened version. If you’ve seen me before October, I’m sorry!
What are the takeaways here?
- Explore those emotions! They have big messages for you!
- We all need an outside perspective and feedback on our storytelling journey. As luck would have it, I’m here for you 😉.
- But whether you call on me or a trusted colleague, stories take practice and editing, just like the emails or any written content you send out daily. Practice, get feedback, edit.
As you round the bend for the final sprint of the year, I wish you well and hope your year has been a home run.
PS – if you are interested in learning more about my spanking new keynote I designed on the heels of that gorgeous Speakership experience, comment below, and let’s schedule a chat. It’s called Lead with Story and inspires leaders of all levels to use the power of story effectively to make everything better.
I am available to run my Power of Story workshop for 12 to 20 of your leaders starting in late February. You can schedule a conversation with me here to discuss either of these programs.
Take care out there.
SOME WAYS I MAY BE ABLE TO HELP YOU AND YOUR TEAM:
LEAD YOUR WAY: This mentoring/coaching program is designed to help you step into your leadership and show up as your best self so you can communicate to connect and amplify your impact.
COMMUNICATE TO CONNECT: In my storytelling workshops, I teach leaders of all capabilities how to engage authentically with their teams, community, and stakeholders to create meaningful connections that build trust, increase team engagement and lead to better fundraising and revenue generation.
Did you have something else in mind? Let’s talk and see how I might be able to help. Contact me and we’ll schedule a chat.
Stay in touch.
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