Friday, November 6, 2015

How to Connect When Speaking Publicly; Part 5

Part 5, Connect Your Story to Your Audience’s Story

Know Your Own Story
Every communicator has a story. I look at my own past at those memories from childhood that stand out. There is a reason they do. The same is true for those memories, both happy and painful, that come from adolescence and early adulthood. Along the way I learned some things. Some I learned from the words of other, some from the example of others, and some from my own experience of trials, successes and failures. Okay, enough set-up.

Write it Down and Reflect
One thing I have done with these stories from my past is to write them down, and then do a little reflective work to pull out the lessons I learned from them with one eye on how those stories have created the person I see when I look in the mirror each morning. It’s a great exercise.

Making the Connection
What this does for me is this – when I am invited to speak to a group of people, I try to learn their story. What is their history? What are their values? What is their shared vision and mission? What are they really good at? Where have they failed? What do they most need right now?

It is amazing how easy it becomes to craft a message when I can connect some aspect of their story to my own. I do not have to spend an awkward amount of time talking about myself. I do not have to talk about myself or my own story at all. 

But there is a kind of authenticity that will come through your words and message when you are speaking into their story from the convictions and passions and even pain of what you have learned from your own.

Your words will then not just be flowing from your own story, but from the person you are as the result of living out that story. No amount of cleverness, humor, wisdom or learning can imitate the effectiveness of that kind of connection.

One Last Thought
So get to know your own story first, and then begin practicing how to leverage and connect it to that of another. The gravity and value of what you have to offer will increase exponentially. Be encouraged!

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