At my birthday do this year, my oldest friend (I don’t mean in the number of years she’s been alive, but my oldest-serving friend: we’ve been buddies for 34 years, ever since we started tennis coaching together) told my other friends that I could tell a story about a bin and make it captivating.
A bin, I mocked, because surely I talk about far more interesting things than taking out the garbage each week!
I’m obsessed with stories.
I’m with Brene Brown when she said that maybe stories are just data with a soul. We relate to stories. We make sense of our own lives by listening to other people’s stories. We’re 22 times better at remembering stories than facts. Stories give us meaning. Research shows that when we’re being told a story, the brain is stimulated and works better, and that stories can even change how we act in life. Stories help us imagine new ways forward.
All my powerful speaking clients know that I’m not just big, but super huge, on storytelling. Want to illustrate a point? Tell me a story about it.
It takes courage to tell your own stories. It takes devotion, too, to something you care about so much you’re willing to bravely take up a spot on a stage and say what you know is yours to say. It takes willingness. And yes, it takes confidence. But not the kind of confidence you probably think.
We’re made of all sorts of stories: the good, the bad and the ugly. The sparkly, the ragged, the dark, the free, the tame, the haggard, the bound, the shiny, the shot, the ripped, the delighted, the traumatic, the joyful… none of us is immune. No-one.
Until you know which stories are running the show, you’ll never unlock the kind of confidence you need to truly own a room. It feels like wearing a combo of kick arse stilettos and comfy old ugg boots – at the same time. It’s that powerful.
Every story of powerlessness and every insecurity you’ve ever known will get up next to you to clutch your hand every single time you stand up to speak.
It’s why, when I’ve forgotten to commune with my own stories, I still get thrown every now and then by a person in the audience who doesn’t seem to be that into me, or an older guy who’s more experienced than me, or someone who’s more interested in sending text messages than listening to what I have to say.
Your internal stories matter, far more than what you talk about.
Before you craft a talk, let alone share it out loud, you need to start with your stories. Give them a loving, safe space to let you know what they have to say and what they need. Collaborate with them. Share a meal. Cut a deal. Go for peace.
Public speaking will become so much easier. And you’ll be far more powerful, perhaps even commanding the stage like a rock star.
It’s time for a deeper approach to the stories that define you, and what your heart’s longing to say.
I’m crafting my most in-depth program yet for women who want to discover and speak their truth. Make sure you sign up below to be among the first to know when registration opens.