“I don’t have any interesting stories.”
When I start working on storytelling skills with my clients, I almost always hear some version of this.
Sometimes it’s job-specific:
“Sure, I have interesting stories about my personal life, but how can I use storytelling when I’m giving a talk about interest rates?”
Some folks insist that even their personal lives are devoid of “story-worthy experiences”:
“What life experiences could I possibly pull from? I’ve barely left my house in 8 months!”
And look, I’ll level with you, it’s definitely easier to craft a compelling story when you’ve got something super dramatic to pull from.
But at the same time, we all know that compelling subject matter does not guarantee a compelling story.
You know this if you’ve ever sat through a relative walking you through a laborious play-by-play of their recent vacation.
I gotta level with you:
While it's important to learn how to be an engaging public speaker, being "engaging" isn't nearly enough to make you stand out from the crowd.
Every day I meet speakers who are engaging and charismatic as all get out.
They have stage-presence, they know how to create vocal variety, they tell amusing stories that have beginnings, middles, and ends.
But here’s the thing...
While they may be engaging, they aren’t effective.
Their audiences may go home amused or inspired, but they don’t take any sort of action.
What does this look like?
The entrepreneur who walks away from a speaking engagement with a very inspired audience...but no new clients.
The activist who leaves her audience thinking, “My God, that’s terrible! Something needs to be done!”...but they don’t do anything.
The academic who sets down the slide changer to their brilliant powerpoint...
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...