“Let me tell you a story”
To me, that is one of the most beautiful sentences in the human language. And fortunately for me, I get to hear it a lot in my line of work.
Story, my friends, is the word of the day.
Today I want to talk about the science of story and a simple trick for weaving storytelling into even the driest of presentations.
Here's a fun fact about Story:
When we hear a good story, our brains release oxytocin.
Oxytocin is one of those feel-good hormones that's specifically associated with trust and bonding. You can see why this might be especially powerful when you’re giving a presentation.
Perhaps you've heard that old business school adage, “We buy from brands that we know, like, and trust.”
Well, this doesn’t just apply to our shopping habits. We also buy into ideas from people that we know, like, and trust.
So, if you want...
"Oh God, I HATED Shakespeare in school."
This is the reaction I get from 90% of my public speaking clients when they learn that, before I was a public speaking coach, I taught Shakespeare performance at an Elementary/Middle School.
I didn't think much of it the first couple times a client said this.
After all, Shakespeare isn't everybody's cup of tea.
But after 5 or 6 clients said that exact phrase to me, I started to get curious...
Why was hating Shakespeare such a common experience among my public speaking clients?
One of the most common questions I get from my clients is:
How do I break the habit of speaking in monotone?
I can be presenting on the most interesting subject in the world, but when I start to speak in my boring voice, I see everyone’s eyes glaze over.
When I try to add more vocal variety, I feel weird and fake. HELP!
Do you relate to this?
Do you fear that your vocal style is that of Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?
Never fear! I’ve got a yuletide cure for monotone coming your way!
Let’s break this down for a second:
What is “monotone”?
Monotone describes a continuing sound, especially of a person's voice, that is unchanging in pitch and without intonation.
So, what’s the cure for monotone?
Adding variation in pitch and intonation!
See, wasn’t that easy?!
I kid, I kid!
See, here’s the problem:
We know the cure to monotone is adding variation to...
It's week 2 of our cheeky blog series:
and it's time to talk about our pre-speaking warm up!
I'll be doing a video series demoing some of my favorite physical and vocal warm-ups down the line, but today we gotta talk about an essential and too often skipped step of the process...
Who's ready for a pre-speaking mini-meditation?!
WAIT, WAIT, DON’T SKIP THIS PART!
I promise I’m not going to suggest a daily hour-long transcendental meditation practice.
(Although, if you’re into that, by all means go nuts!)
Look, I know that slowing down and focusing on your breath is probably the last thing you feel like doing when those pterodactyls are flapping around in your belly. (Some people talk about butterflies in the stomach, but I think pterodactyls are a more accurate description.)
But at this point, the scientific benefits of meditation when it comes to...
Apply this basic outline to any speaking engagement to feel twice as prepared in half the time
(without hours of pointless memorization!)