So you’re thinking, “Alright, harsh words there tater tot. But listen, you’re a military commander, podcast host, coach, and a manager- there is NO way that you haven’t been groomed for public speaking or even storytelling.”
And THAT, my friend, is where you would be very, very…VERY wrong.
I have had to do some DEEP soul searching to find the “secrets” to not looking like a total buffoon…in real life AND on camera. While I still am not sure if I have any “secrets”, I have gained quite a few tools that might be helpful to you, too 🙂
- Start practicing- and DON’T STOP
- Adopt the Storyteller’s Structure
- Study & Refine 🤓
- Be yourself
- BONUS- What to do with your Inner Nervous Nancy
- Start Practicing– and DON’T STOP
Let’s just get this out of the way right now- youre going to suck at first. It just is what it is.
Whether you are practicing your elevator speech for your next interview or practicing how to shoot a bow and arrow, the rules are the same. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, and as a reminder, practice is where you are SUPPOSED to suck!
Don’t judge yourself too harshly on the 20th take of your video blog where you still have “ums” and “uhs”, or the 8th time you’ve cooked a cheesecake and it still cracks (SO frustrating). Each time you are learning and getting better…and YOU may not see it, but I PROMISE you others do!
My first podcast was less than 3 minutes and had 9 views, one of them being my mom who watched it multiple times. I knew I had good content, but as I moved through my journey of producing I realized that though the content was on point- people prefer to hear content a certain way…the Storyteller’s way.
2. Adopt the Storyteller’s Structure
Have you ever listened to a story from a friend and they get lost and forget the point? Or they are recalling to you the last episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” and they talk for 5 minutes about the couch that they loved half way through the show? Let’s face it, we love our friends, but not for their gripping storytelling abilities.
And let’s face it introverts- since we don’t share a lot, our storytelling skills can improve as well.
If you break down human speech down to its basics- we are all storytelling Neanderthals around the campfire, talking about what berries are poisonous and which animal outran us.
Without the mindset of a storyteller, whatever the point is you want to make, in most settings, will fall flat.
As I started my podcast, I focused solely on my content and developing quality. I did not have the views I was expecting and felt a little bummed. After re-reviewing my content over and over again, I painfully realized that the content was not why people were not sharing my video…it was my lack of storytelling approach.
There are quite a few books that you can read that talk about the ins and outs of a gripping story, the most helpful to me have been The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson and Unleash the Power of Storytelling by Rob Biesenbach.
Both of these books share common themes:
- Basic pieces of the story pie (yum): Beginning- Set the stage, Middle- incident and how the character works through it, End- resolution. Sounds like high school English, yes…it is timeless because it works.
- Focus your discussion to 1 theme/ 1 key player/ 1 idea/ 1 goal. This allows others to “connect the dots” in your story and not go down the rabbit holes of erroneous details
- Things that are NOT erroneous details? Focused emotions and first-person accounts that contribute to the connecting theme
- Use comparisons, analogies, and metaphors. They help to untangle larger concepts or help connect dots for others who have not had similar experiences
- Tailor the story to the audience. If your speaking for a large group, imagine the 1 person you would write that story or discussion for
3. Study and Refine
Even knowing the things above, the structure, and the practice, you will still not grow unless you make the effort to study how you speak, ask others about their thoughts on the way you speak, and watch how others speak and decide what you like and what you don’t.
Use this information to refine how you present your stories; be intentional about what additional tools you need and which ones you don’t to get to where you feel comfortable speaking.
4. Be Yourself
I am, by nature, an introverted person AND leader.
Have I changed who I am to get there?
Not at all.
I will argue that introverted speakers are actually better because they are
a. more relatable
b. introverts don’t like to waste people’s time, which means that everything they say has impact.
The more you try to stretch out your sentences unnaturally, people will be able to tell that is not your true nature. Not only that, but you probably won’t be saying much of substance.
Stay true to yourself and you will never go wrong.
5. BONUS- What to do with your Inner Nervous Nancy
I listed some tips and tricks in my Op In Mini, What to do with your Inner Nervous Nancy. It gives you some more tools for your kit bag to climb up whatever mountain you are taking on- take a listen and be sure to comment and share if you like what you hear!