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Why Speakers and Storytellers Need to Ignore This Common Myth

Ron and I were chatting over breakfast. He said, “I was recently told that speakers should never talk about themselves on stage.” This was the fourth time in a month someone had said that to me about speakers.

I said, “Who gave you that advice?”

He said, “A guy I know who’s done a kit of speaking.”

Curious, I asked, “What did he tell you to talk about?”

“Stories about other people who’ve influenced me,” Ron said.

That’s the answer I expected. And it’s wrong.

Understanding Why Speakers Are Told This Myth

A common belief in speaking is that you shouldn’t talk about yourself. That comes across as self-serving and people don’t want to hear you brag.

And that’s the crux of the problem with this myth. It isn’t that people don’t want to hear your story. What they don’t want is to only hear an ongoing list of your accomplishments.

That is what well-meaning people are trying to convey when they say, “Don’t talk about yourself.” What they mean is “Don’t talk only about your successes. Tell about the struggles along the way to your victories.”

A Speakers Best Source

Your best material will always be your story. That’s because it’s the most personal to you. You have your deepest emotional connection to the events in your life. You will speak from the heart more deeply when you share experiences you’ve had.

Talk about the conflicts you’ve had — external and internal. Audiences won’t always relate to the external story. You may be talking about a divorce, bankruptcy, or job loss from your dream career. Not everyone has experienced those events.

But, if you talk about the fear, doubt, and pain those events triggered, others can relate to those. And that’s where you’ll connect with them. 

Should Speakers Ignore Other’s Stories

Does this mean you shouldn’t talk about others?


It means that your main stories should be about your experiences. Other people’s narratives should add to yours, to give them contrast or context. For example, I have a talk in which I discuss my Dad’s impact as a teacher. His story sets up my dream of becoming a professional speaker and speech coach. Dad’s example help me overcome my own struggles to accomplish this.

If you want to make a fast and deep connection with others, talk about the person you know best – YOU. Don’t talk endlessly about your accomplishments. Give us insight into the obstacles and struggles you’d faced. Then share the victory and the improved life you’re living.

Do this, and you’ll leave a lasting impact.


It’s a bit early, but, since Christmas decorations are up in the stories, not that early.

Here’s the deal: 

For the next 96 hours, you can capture two excellent presentation skills books for the price of one.

‘THE Book on Storytelling’

This is a unique resource inspired by some of the best storytellers in the world – Hall of Fame and World Champion speakers, Hollywood screenwriters and comedians.

It provides a step-by-step game plan to discover, develop and deliver stories that get measurable results.

Put these skills into practice and you will:

=> Grab audience attention, keep their attention and compel them to act on your message

=> Increase your visibility within your industry

=> Create opportunities that advance your career

=> Make you more money

=> and much more

THE Book on Storytelling‘ is your key to storytelling mastery.

Go Ahead and Laugh: A Serious Guide to Speaking with Humor’ 

Think about the best speeches you’ve heard. Didn’t most, if not all of them, at some point make you laugh?

What is the right type of humor to include in your speeches?

How do you include funny material without taking away from your message?

What if you’re not a naturally funny person, how do you make people laugh in a speech?

In this book, presentation Expert Rich Hopkins breaks down 11 speeches.  He helps you understand how to uncover the humor that exists in your stories. After reading this unique publication, you will know…

=> The difference between humor and jokes [there is a HUGE difference]

=> How to use your stories to make audiences laugh

=> Techniques to deliver your funniest material with maximum effect

=> Using humorous self-deprecation to increase your likability

=> And much more!

Learn how to create more laughter in your speeches. You’ll find that your speeches will improve and you will become a much more in-demand presenter. Get comfortable incorporating more humor into your speeches. Your impact and connection with audiences will significantly increase.

Go Ahead and Laugh: A Serious Guide to Speaking with Humor‘ can help you take great leaps in improving the quality and impact of your speeches.

Normally, these books sell separately for $44.99. However, from now until 11:59 PM EST on October 11, 2018, you can purchase these two books for just $20.00 + shipping (domestic USA only).

To take advantage of this PRE-HOLIDAY / PRE-BLACK FRIDAY SALE and dramatically improve your storytelling and humor skills, click here.

The post Speakers: Make an Impression – Ignore This Myth appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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Speaking CPR by Michael Davis - 1M ago
Give Your Audience the Payoff They’re Waiting For

In previous posts, you’ve read about Michael Hauge’s storytelling process. His format enables you to create a bond with your 

To recap, here are his first four steps:

1. Setup the circumstances

2. Put your main character in a Crisis situation

3. Show us the character’s Pursuit of a new goal

4. Highlight the Conflict that person experiences while pursuing that objective

Now it’s time to reward the audience for joining you on the ride.

The Victory Your Audience Seeks

Show them the Climax of your story. As Michael says, “This is the victory your hero has been striving for. The moment the final obstacle is overcome and the finish line is crossed.”

In previous posts, I’ve written about my experience driving a real race car. My goal was to drive fast and pass other cars. I battled my own fears and concerns about driving fast. Halfway through, I  felt that I’d made a mistake and would regret the experience. Then something unexpected happened.

A voice came through my earpiece. “You’re doing great, Michael. You’re driving the way we taught you. Now it’s time to go fast!”

Up to that point, I thought I was doing everything wrong. The steering wheel was violently vibrating. All the other cars were whizzing by me. I was sure I had missed some important instructions during the orientation.

The voice in my earpiece appeared right when I needed it. It had such a calm and confident demeanor that I immediately felt better. He saw the bigger picture. I was using the right technique. I just needed to push down on the pedal and go faster.

So, I did. And within seconds, I was driving faster.  Much faster. The ride got smoother.  And within one lap, I passed two cars.

Goal achieved!

Why Audiences Want to See The Win

When I share this story, I feel the connection with the audience. This is what they want to see – the main character overcoming his struggle to succeed.

I see the same reaction when I tell the story of my client, Patti. She overcome her frustrations and fears when she gave her most important speech. The audience loved her.

Why do audiences need to see this part of the story? 

Because they’ve created what speaker Patricia Fripp calls ‘a rooting interest.’

If they can relate to the character, they want that person to succeed. It’s as if they are also accomplishing the goal.

As you create your story, be sure to give the audience the payoff they’ve been waiting for. Show the victory your main character has been striving for.

Once you’ve shared that part of the story, you’re ready to show the audience the most often overlooked part. And you’ll discover that critical piece next week.

Recommended Resource

‘THE Book on Storytelling’

Want to tell business stories that give you an edge, make you stand out, and increase your chances of getting the business?

This step-by-step guide shows you how to craft and deliver stories that:

  • Increase your confidence
  • Attract more qualified clients
  • Inspire others to act on your message
  • Create deeper levels of trust, in less time
  • Have more fun when you give presentations

Discover how the best speakers, storytellers and leaders develop and deliver stories that immediately grab audience attention, keep them on the edge of their seats, and inspire them to act on your message.

2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, Ed Tate, CSP says: “This book is outstanding! It will be my new #1 storytelling resource.”

For more details, visit: http://amzn.to/1BaNf62

Amazon $5.99 offer:


The post How to Reward Your Audience appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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Create Deeper Levels of Audience Engagement

In the last three posts, you’ve read about how to set up your story to and create audience interest. Introduce a compelling character in relatable circumstances. Then show your hero pursuing a worthwhile goal. These steps set the stage for your audience and lead to the fourth step in Michael Hauge’s storytelling format – 

For a story to be memorable and create emotion, it MUST have conflict. Romeo and Juliet would be forgettable if there had been no feud between their families. The movie JAWS wouldn’t have sold 1,000 tickets if it was about a shark swimming a safe distance away from the beach.
The Impact of Conflict Enhances Your Story
Your stories won’t be impactful on the audience unless you show the conflict in your life. My story ‘Full Throttle’ highlights my experience driving a real Indy-style race car.  By myself.  With other cars whizzing by me at fast speeds.
That alone didn’t create all of the tension. I was eager to drive on that track until I sat in a mandatory orientation meeting. The one where they show videos of accidents. And explain in graphic detail all that could happen if you don’t follow the rules.
When I walked out of that session, I had transformed from wanting to see how fast I could drive to simply wanting to survive. As I drove the car onto the track, I had that same feeling you get when you’re strapped in a roller coaster car that’s slowly climbing up hill. You know that thought of, “Well, I might not survive this, but, it’s too late now.”
The Importance of Increasing the Conflict
As the first few laps of the ride unfolded, my anxiety grew. Other cars quickly zipped past me. The warnings of the orientation kept replaying in my head. And then, another thought… ‘You’re blowing it! You’ve waited all these years to do this and you’re driving scared! Go faster, man!’
This is the increasing conflict in the story. With each passing lap, MY anxiety increased. I was experiencing an internal battle – fear of wrecking versus the regret of not going faster.
When your conflict is well-delivered, your audience experiences ‘edge-of-their seat’ moments. They want to know what happens next. They’re fully engaged and open to hearing what you have to say.
Two Types of Conflict Enhance the Power of Your Story
There are two types of conflict in memorable stories – external and internal. The external conflict sets the stage. For instance, an argument with a spouse, the threat of a job loss, or an opportunity to drive a race car.
The external conflict isn’t always relatable to the audience. You may have heard speakers talk about climbing Mt. Everest, winning an Olympic Gold medal, or overcoming a serious physical injury. Most people haven’t experienced these.
That’s why the internal conflict is critical to creating a connection. These uncommon stories can be effective when the speaker shares the feelings experienced during the ordeal.
The mountain climber may have had to consider the possibility of death. The Gold medalist may have had to overcome self-doubt. The injured individual may have dealt with pushing through the physical and emotional pain.
HOW they did this is what the audience wants to know. If it’s a process or new way of thinking, it might help them when they face their next obstacle.
Share your conflict on these two levels and the audience will be 100% engaged. They will be ready to hear the next step of the story.
Which you’ll read about next week.
Have a terrific week crafting your story.
Recommended Resource

‘Storytelling Made Easy: Harness the Power of Hollywood Storytelling Magic’ by Michael Hauge

Imagine if every time you give a speech, make a sales presentation, or lead a meeting, you instantly motivate and inspire others to take action.

You can – by telling more powerful success stories.

Renowned Hollywood script consultant and story expert Michael Hauge offers you the secrets of Hollywood storytelling magic. By following his simple Six Step Success Story™ formula, you’ll be able to attract more clients and buyers by giving them their own emotional experience of success and achievement.

Read this book and you will:

=> Eliminate the fear, frustration, and overwhelmed feeling that can accompany the thought of writing or telling stories

=> Select the type of story best suited to your product or service  

=> Incorporate the six steps of every successful success story 

=> Easily develop a simple, entertaining, and persuasive writing style that is uniquely yours

=> Master the principles of great storytelling within a variety of arenas: speeches, sales pitches, company meetings, e-mails, videos, podcasts, and testimonials

=> Deliver your message clearly, emotionally and powerful 

   => And more

With this groundbreaking new book, you’ll not only attract more clients and customers and multiply your revenue; you’ll move your audiences and readers toward more connected and fulfilling lives. To pick up your copy, click here

The post Use Tension to Increase Audience Attention appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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How to Tap Into Your Audiences Emotions With Your Stories

Last week you read about the first step of Michael Hauge’s process – the Setup in your stories. This process is highlighted in great detail in Michael’s Book ‘Storytelling Made Easy.’

Today, you’ll pick up the second step – the Crisis. This word is sometimes misunderstood. A crisis doesn’t have to be life-threatening. The word often evokes scenes like Indiana Jones running from a boulder or dropped into a pit of snakes. However, these can be moments that each of us has faced. Finacial loss. Threatening weather.  An emotional reaction to an uncomfortable situation.

The key to this aspect is that it develops an emotional reaction from your audience. It should create questions in the audience that get them leaning forward, waiting for what happens next.

Create Uncertainty for the Listener

In my story ‘Full Throttle’ I’m driving a real Indianapolis race car on a real race track. And it’s not going well. Many messages flash through my head as I try to drive the car faster.  The fear-based messages from my childhood. The admonition of the instructor to “not do anything stupid.’ The intimidation of other cars around my whizzing by at breakneck speeds.

The ‘crisis’ in this event is the moment I realize that I’ve been waiting 41 years for this experience. And I’m blowing my chance to enjoy it as much as possible. Time is running out, and I’m struggling to push past my fears and push down harder on the gas pedal. If I do, I’ll be at risk of an accident. If I don’t, I risk the regret of not fully experiencing the event.

The Impact of Deeper Conflict in Your Stories

There is a deeper meaning for the crisis moment than showing an external struggle. The importance of this scene is to uncover the internal struggle of a character. To put her in a position where she has to make a decision that will change her life in some way.

In Star Wars, Luke’s crisis moment is when he discovers the bodies of his aunt and uncle. Up to that point, he’s afraid to join the Rebellion against the Evil Empire. Now without a family, his crisis moment is re-thinking his decision to join the fight.

How Commercials Tap Into Crisis in Stories

This same experience occurs in commercials and ads. Consider a well-known TV ad from the 1980’s. The tire company Michelin shows a picture of a baby sitting in a tire. Next to that are the words:

‘Michelin. Because so much is riding on your tires.’

What is the ‘crisis’ in this ad?

It’s the question created in the mind of the reader. ‘Do I have the best and safest tires to protect my family?’

This is subtle and brilliant.  It uses an emotional image of a baby to invoke a question.  It creates a potential crisis that the reader sees in his mind. This motivates him to consider Michelin tires as a solution to his problem.

How Your Stories Can Create a Bond With Audiences

When your main character faces a crisis, you put her in a position that creates empathy with the audience. It makes her human and vulnerable. This is the connection that people often talk about. Without this bond to the character, the audience won’t care and they’ll check-out of your story.

You have set up to your story and put your character in a difficult situation. Now you’re ready for the third step of Michael’s formula.

And you’ll read about that next week.

Recommended Resource


‘Be Your Best on the TEDx Stage’

Want to speak at a TEDx event, but don’t know how?

Attend our next complimentary webinar,  ‘Be Your Best on the TEDx Stage’ and discover:

  1. Where to apply for a TED x talk
  2. How to confidently submit an application for a TED x audition
  3. How to overcome the uncertainty of what to say in your audition
  4. How to deliver your talk in the TED-style

In this informative and interactive program, you’ll pick up the insider secrets to crafting a memorable talk and how to attract the attention of TEDx organizers.

Join us for our next webinar on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at 8:00 PM EST.

To secure your seat, click here.

The post Create Edge of Their Seats Moments in Your Stories appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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A Common Selling Mistake

Last Wednesday afternoon, I attended a typical networking event. I listened to people share their version of an ‘elevator’ pitch – their 30-second ‘commercials.’ Point of clarification – they were supposed to be 30-seconds long.  And, as I feared, many of them used this event to start selling their services.

They didn’t follow the guidelines. They stood up and spoke for a minute or longer. 

As I listened to speaker after speaker, two issues became clear:

  1. They were missing an opportunity to stand out. At 60 to 90-seconds, they were violating the rules of the exercise. This irritates others and hurts your credibility
  2. I had no idea how most of the speakers could help me. They were too busy telling us everything about themselves. They were using traditional “selling” techniques that have been proven not to work.
Why Does This Selling Approach Hurt You?

This group did not understand the purpose of a 30-second talk. Unfortunately, they are not alone. Every day, all over the world, people are committing this same mistake.  They mistakenly believe that talking about themselves is the key to creating interest. They miss an opportunity to make an impact because they are essentially saying the same things as their competitors.

Every gathering you attend is an opportunity to shine. Or be forgotten. At every event, your goal should be the same:

Let people know the benefits you can provide to THEM

This is one of the most important business lessons I’ve learned.  I discovered the hard way that when you first meet people, they do not care about you, your company or your products and service.

They will care once they know how you can help them.

This explained why my old 30-second commercials failed. No one cared that “I am an author, speech coach and professional speaker.” Or, that “Speaking CPR helps you breathe life into your lifeless presentations.”

What they wanted was to know was:

How can you make my life better?

This insight enabled me to create a better 30-second talk.  I used this brief formula to restructure it:

  • Mention a common problem that business professionals face (one that I solve)
  • Introduce yourself and your company name
  • Offer a ‘big picture’ explanation of the benefits I provide
  • Focus on the listener with the word “you” (or variation) as many times as possible

My new 30-second talk now addresses their concerns:

“Your ability to confidently stand up and speak in front of a group of any size is one of the most important business skills you can develop. My name is Michael Davis of Speaking CPR.  I provide you with a 5-step process that you can use to develop and deliver presentations that encourage people to do business with you.”

In 22 seconds I get people’s attention – if they want to attract more clients or customers. The benefit I promise triggers the question “How do you do that?”  They’ll typically seek me out to talk further about how I can help.

And that’s what I want! The purpose of these elevator-type pitches isn’t to close business or make a sale on-the-spot. It’s to create enough interest in your work that people want to sit down and talk with you further. 

When creating your next commercial remember to use the four steps listed above. Focus on the other person and the benefits you provide. You’ll increase your odds of creating interest in what you do.



‘Be Your Best on the TEDx Stage’

Want to speak at a TEDx event, but don’t know how?

Attend our next complimentary webinar,  ‘Be Your Best on the TEDx Stage’ and discover:

  1. Where to apply for a TED x talk
  2. How to confidently submit an application for a TED x audition
  3. How to overcome the uncertainty of what to say in your audition
  4. How to deliver your talk in the TED-style

In this informative and interactive program, you’ll pick up the insider secrets to crafting a memorable talk and how to attract the attention of TEDx organizers.

Join us for our next webinar on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at 8:00 PM EST.

To secure your seat, click here.

The post Please, Tell Me What You’re Selling! (Hint: It’s Not About YOU) appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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