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One of the most important lessons we teach speakers is this:

Your goal is to change the way audiences Think, Feel or Act.

One of the biggest mistakes speakers make is that they often cause people to think too much.


Isn’t that a contradiction?

At first glance, yes. But, here’s the difference:

When we say that your goal is to change the way audiences think, this is what we mean:

Your speech should inspire people to consider the implication of your message. They should think about how it applies to their lives. 

For instance, as a speaking skills coach, I have an important task: 

Help people understand the importance of public speaking to their careers.

Financial planners often have to persuade audiences to re-think the value of saving.

Nutritionists must change people’s perception of eating healthier foods.

When presenters do well, their messages affect audiences long after they speak. People think about the implication of their message to their lives.

Contrast this type of thinking with the kind you don’t want:

Audience members getting lost in thought because you’ve confused them.

This occurs when you make references to people or concepts they’re not familiar with.  

This is a common problem. I recently experienced this when coaching a member of our online university, Lisa. She was telling a captivating story of how she had lost a large amount of weight.

One part of her story involved being on a TV show focused on weight loss. One of the hosts was John Cena. 

She shared this part of her story, and then moved on to the next story. At that point we stopped her.

We said, “Lisa, imagine you’re in the audience and you heard that reference to John Cena, and don’t know who he is.”

She thought for a moment and said, “I guess it would distract me. I probably wouldn’t hear the next thing the speaker said.”


Make a reference that your audience isn’t familiar with, and they immediately stop listening to you. Instead, these kinds of thoughts run their heads: 

‘Who’s John Cena?’

Or, ‘John Cena…. John Cena. Isn’t he an entertainer? Football? Wrestling?’

Or, ‘Isn’t he that actor guy?’

Whatever they’re thinking, you’re in trouble. The people distracted by this reference are not listening to you. They’re ‘lost in thought’ and not hearing the next part of your speech.

You know what this means for the rest of your speech, right?

A missed opportunity to make a lasting impression.

How do you solve this problem?

It’s actually easy.

In the John Cena example above, Lisa could have set up the reference like this:

“One of the stars of the show was former wrestler turned actor John Cena.”

That’s it! One sentence that gives the person’s background. 

Lisa plans to change her story. She’ll say something like that to introduce John Cena. The audience will immediately know who he is. They’ll stay focused and hear what she says next.

One of your most important goals as a speaker should be to change the way people think. But, don’t make them think too much during your presentation.

Avoid this problem, and they’ll think about the implication of your talk long AFTER you speak.


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The post How to Keep Your Audience From Getting Lost in Thought appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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Take a good look at the picture above. Look at it for several seconds. 

What do you see?

Most people see a white triangle. It’s resting upon a black-lined triangle and three circles. 

The reality is there isn’t a white triangle in the illustration. There are three v-shaped lines and three ‘Pac-Man’ discs.  

This illustration is a Kanizsa Triangle. Created in the 1950s, it helps show how the brain perceives objects and colors in everyday life. It also demonstrates that we don’t always see what what’s really there.

Research has determined that humans have visual ‘blind spots.’  

Our eyes don’t see everything in our field of vision. Our brains have developed the ability to fill in the missing pieces and create false images. This is why we ‘see’ the white triangle that isn’t there. 

It occurs to me that audiences often have ‘blind spots’ about the topics we speak about. One of the roles of speakers is to help audiences see the world in a different light.

For 20 years, I was a Certified Financial Planner. We often invested time with clients to show the reality of financial products. For example, how the stock market functions, or how life insurance products work. 

Far too often, they had incorrect assumptions about these financial tools. These beliefs caused them to make poor financial decisions. Until we clarified these, our clients couldn’t make good decisions that they felt good about.

As a speech coach, one of my first jobs is to work with people on their fear or anxiety about public speaking. These feelings are real for many, but are often based on false premises. People may feel that great speakers are born that way, or that audiences want them to fail. Neither of these is true, but, until I help them under this, the rest of my coaching will be less effective.  

As you prepare your next presentation, do this:

Write out a list of common misconceptions that may be blinding your audience. If they are stuck on these beliefs, you won’t be able to connect with them at a deep level and see the benefit of your message.

Then create a list of  ‘truths’ to counter those beliefs. These will help them see the picture as it really is.

When you change audience perceptions, you’ll open their minds to seeing your topic in a new light. You’ll enhance the chances of leaving a lasting impression on them.

Want to ‘Become a Speaker Everyone Wants to Hear? Join me for a no-cost, no-obligation webinar this Thursday at noon (EST). Discover three of the most common speaking myths that hold speakers back. You’ll also learn the next steps you can take to become a speaker who Stands Out every time you speak.

To register, click here.

The post How to Help Your Audience See the ‘Big Picture’ appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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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: 

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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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How to Create Impact Every Time You Speak.
Want to compel audiences to seek you out after you speak?
Then use the sixth and final step of scriptwriter Michael Hauge’s proven storytelling process. The formula introduces:
  1. The Setup in which you introduce a compelling character in a relatable situation.
  2. A Crisis which introduces a challenge to the ordinary life of your protagonist.
  3. The Pursuit of your protagonist. This is the main goal she wants to achieve.
  4. A Conflict that tests your protagonist’s level of desire for her goal.
  5. The Climax where the obstacles are overcome and the protagonist achieves the goal.
This leads to the sixth and often-overlooked step of the process — the Aftermath.
How This Step Draws In Your Audience When You Speak
Many storytellers leave this scene out. Because of this, their audiences don’t experience the full benefit of the story.
For example, consider financial planners. They may tell you about a couple struggling or worried about their future. After working with the planner, the couple got their affairs in order and felt better.
But, they don’t tell you HOW their situation improved. Without specifics, the listener won’t feel an emotional connection. This might cause them to disregard the planner’s services and not engage her.
A better strategy is to share the new life the couple is experiencing. The planner could talk about the couple’s improved marriage because of better communication.
Or, the regular vacations they now take that they used to only dream about.
Or, the better college their son now attends because they planned the right way.
There are countless other aspects of this story that she can share. Prospective clients want to hear those specific benefits. This causes them to think, “I want that, too.”
Examples of The Aftermath From Various Media
Consider the many commercial produced by the advertising world:
The mother who feels better because her young child is sleeping better at night.
Because of the nighttime cold medicine she gave her son.
The attractive young people enjoying a more energetic and fun-filled party.
Because they’re drinking that new ‘lite’ beer. (I have yet to attend one of those parties, but, they must be out there. The beer company said so).
In movies, the hero overcomes the big obstacle to achieve success. In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker fired the shot that blew up the Death Star. He saved the rebellion and is on the path to becoming a Jedi Knight.
Are You Including This Crucial Step When You Speak?
There are countless stories that show the improved life of the main character. When you craft your stories, are you including this critical step?
If not, you’re costing yourself opportunities. And your audience is missing out on the value you provide.
Want to top off your story with an ending that creates desire in your audience to learn more?
Give them the aftermath.

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In one year, you can do just that. Every week, you’ll receive a free 5-minute audio tip and downloadable PDF transcription of that lesson. For 12 months, you’ll automatically receive these tips that build one upon another.  Develop these skills and you can:

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– Reduce the stress and anxiety often involved with crafting and delivering memorable stories that get results

To register for these free tips, visit: http://speakingcpr.com/52-storytelling-tips/

The post How to Make Audiences Think ‘I Want That’ Every Time You Speak appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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Speaking CPR by Michael Davis - 5M 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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A Simple Lesson From the World Championship of Public Speaking
It was the night before the World Championship of Public Speaking. If you’re not familiar with this competition, think American Idol for speakers. It’s an annual contest hosted by Toastmasters International. Over 30,000 people compete every year.
By the final weekend of competition, 106 speakers remain. They each present a 5-to-7 minute talk in a semi-final round. The winners of those ten contests then compete two days later in the Finals with a new speech. The winner is crowned World Champion of Public Speaking.
The day before the final event, I was part of a coaching team working with one of the speakers, Sherrie Su. It was my first time meeting her face-to-face. I was immediately struck by her personality. She is sweet, charming and tells a compelling story. It is funny, poignant and inspiring.
During her final practice, we noticed that speech needed a few tweaks. We made six suggestions. This is always risky at the last-minute. Many speakers struggle with changes to a speech late in the process.
Sherrie incorporated five of the suggestions into her talk. In the next practice, she used all five without a flaw. We said, “Sherrie, that’s incredible. You made those changes sound like they’ve been part of the speech all along!”
A Reminder About the Magic Number
I asked her, “How many times have you practiced this speech?”
Her answer was the secret — the magic number — to speaking success.
She thought for a while and said, “Over two hundred.”
The coaches each looked at one another and smiled. Sherrie had given us THE answer to speaking mastery.
“Really? Two hundred times?” we asked her.
“Yes. And I practiced my semi-final speech even more than that,” she added.
That number captures the essence of mastering the skill of speaking. Five years ago, I was listening to a story told by Hall of Fame speaker Steve Seibold. Steve was mentored by the man considered by many to be the greatest public speaking teacher, Bill Gove. Bill taught Steve that he should give his speech many times to audiences before getting paid to speak.
“How many times,” Steve asked.
“200” was Bill’s reply.
“Give a speech 200 times – for free – before I ever get paid?” Steve asked.
“Yes. That’s how many times it takes for the speech to become part of you,” was Bill’s response.
THE Key to Being a Meaningful and Memorable Speaker
Repetition and rehearsal.
When you present or practice a talk two hundred times, one thing is certain. You’ll get better. You will internalize your message. You’ll know it so well that when you present it, your personality will shine through. You won’t give a ‘speech.’ You’ll present a message that communicates with the heart of the audience.
Why do I say this?
Because that’s what happened with Sherrie. She was the first speaker in the Finals. Within the first minute, she had connected with the audience and they hung on her every word. They roared with laughter at the humor in her talk. And the room was quiet and still at her most poignant moments.
The last-minute changes she had the courage to make added to the experience. And she was able to make them because she was ready. Because she put in the work and practiced 200 times.
Why Other Skills Are Useless Without Practice
There are many elements to developing and delivering meaningful speeches. I’ve learned these from some of the best speakers and storytellers in the country.
They’ve also taught me this:
Those tools are useless if you’re not willing to take the most essential steps —
Practice. Get feedback. Make changes. Repeat the process.
Eight years ago, Sherrie Su couldn’t speak a word of English. Every day, she watched American TV and practiced her English over and over and over. She kept at it until she became proficient. Enough to compete in an English-speaking speech contest. And finished second in the World Championship of Public Speaking.
Do you want to leave a lasting impression on audiences?
The solution is simple. Not easy, but simple. Follow Sherrie’s lead. Practice until your presentation becomes part of you.
You’ll leave an impact long after you speak. I know Sherrie did.
To see clips from her Championship talk, click here.
Recommended Resource

Speakers Power Pack: Improve Your Speeches with Secrets from World Class Speakers’

Have you ever sat in awe of a speaker who held an audience in rapt attention, keeping them on the edge of their seats? 

Have you ever wished you could do that? 

Guess what? 

You can!  Contrary to popular belief, great speakers are not born, they are made.

Since 2001, Michael has studied and worked with World Champion and Hall of Fame speakers, individuals who now serve as his mentors. They have taught him how to create and deliver world-class caliber speeches.

Michael has packaged the lessons he’s learned into a series of audio lessons and books that can save you years of trial-and-error and thousands upon thousands of dollars.

Invest in this program, and you’ll quickly develop the skills that make you:

  • Feel more confident
  • Become better known
  • Attract more opportunities
  • Advance your career faster
  • Earn more money
  • Free up time
  • Enjoy the process of developing and delivering speeches
  • and much more!

To immediately begin diving into these world-class tools and processes, click here.

The post The Magic Number for Public Speaking Success 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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“In your story, give listeners the emotional experience of working with your company or your product — and succeeding!”
~ Michael Hauge
In the last two blogs, you read about the first two steps of Michael Hauge’s story creation process:
1. Talk about the everyday life of your character
2. Show the crisis she faces that motivates her to take a new action.
In this post, you’ll read about the next part of your story — the pursuit.
Pursuit shows the first steps of the character’s experience with your product or service. The key to this part of your story is that your character shouldn’t experience quick success. Stories that show someone struggling, then easily realizing success aren’t believable. That’s not how life happens.
Think about what happens when we face challenging situations. We try new ways to overcome them. We experience a success, then a failure, some more success, another failure. That’s how we learn and grow. When your story shortcuts this process, listeners may doubt it’s honesty.
Patti’s Story
Consider the story of my client Patti. When I met her she asked for my help. She said, “I have to give this speech and it’s making me sick to my stomach, I’m not sleeping well, and it’s got me stressed out.”
In the shorter version of this story, I jump ahead 11 months to the night of her speech. She confidently presented her talk. It was compelling, entertaining and evoked a few tear and many laughs.
HOW did she make such a dramatic change?
When I ask this question in workshops, I always get this response:
“Because she hired you!”
The Purpose of Pursuit in Your Story
She did, but that’s not the reason I ask the question. The purpose is to shine a light on her. She is the hero of the story. At a deeper level, I want to let the audience know that Patti did the work. She invested her time, money and emotions to become a better speaker.
She didn’t magically improve her skills because she paid me a fee. She also didn’t wake up after a couple of sessions and absorb these skills. She wrote her talk, practiced, got feedback and then repeated the process. She continued this process until the night of her speech.
I share that story because I don’t want prospective clients to think there is a ‘magic bullet.’ You have to put in the work. As sales coach Mark Hunter says, “I will guide you and give you the map, but you’ve got to drive the car.”
The Power of the Realistic Journey
The pursuit aspect of your story can create a deeper bond with your audience. But, only on one condition. It must illustrate a realistic journey of your character implementing your product or service.
Do this, and you’re ready for the fourth step of Michael’s six-part structure. By now, you know that you won’t discover what that is until you read next week’s post.
Enjoy your storytelling.
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 Deeper Connection in Your Story 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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How to Tell Stories That Create an Instant Bond
Michael Hauge is a long-time screenwriting and story consultant in Hollywood. Each month, I have the privilege of co-hosting a webinar with Michael. We teach storytelling skills to speakers.
Actually, Michael teaches the skills. I add an occasional comment and listen to his wisdom. For the next six weeks, you’ll pick up his process. You’ll gain insight into crafting stories with the same impact of Hollywood blockbusters.
Why Tell Stories?
Michael’s biggest takeaway is that there is one purpose to telling stories – to create emotion. If you don’t do this, people will quickly tune out.
How do you do this?
Start with showing the everyday life of your main character – the hero of your story. As Michael says…
“The opening 10% of your stories must draw the audience into the initial setting. It must reveal the everyday life your hero has been living. And it must establish identification with your hero. This means making her sympathetic, threatened, likable, funny and/or powerful.”
The purpose of this is to make the character relatable. It’s easier to create a bond with a hero if that person is like the audience.
My Story of Wanting to Drive a Race Car
In my story ‘Full Throttle’ I open with an experience I had with my Dad when I was 10. He took me to the Indianapolis 500 auto race. I loved it so much it created a lifelong affection for the event.
My ‘everyday’ life experience, in this case, is an annual trip with friends to attend the race. This is relatable because many people have some type of annual ritual with friends or family. It could be a favorite vacation place, a sporting event, or ‘boys/girls weekend.’
Another Connecting Aspect of Your Stories
There’s one more aspect of this story the audience can relate to. Every year I attended the race, I had one question:
“What would it be like to drive one of those cars that fast?”
That question never left me, and I always fantasized about driving an Indy car.
How is this relatable to the audience?

Because everyone has secret desires! It could be a fantasy vacation place, an athletic achievement, or the ideal job. The shared experience in this part of my story is the unfulfilled dream.

In just a few lines, I have a connection with the audience. Not because of the specific details of the story – an auto race or driving a car fast. It’s the underlying aspect of those details – an experience with a loved one and a long-held dream.

Use Openings in Your Stories to Quickly Connect
There is a key aspect to Michael’s first step – create a fast bond with your audience. In the first 10% of your stories, share common experiences. You’re then ready for the second part of Michael’s process.
What is that?
You’ll have to wait until next week to discover that secret.
Do you see what I did there, I employed yet another storytelling tool – create curiosity.
See you 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 How to Create Stories Like Hollywood appeared first on Speaking CPR.

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