The audience quietened down and settled in for the next speaker. My colleague began the introduction and I repeated the mantra that calms my heart and keeps my stage fright at bay. I moved into a hyper present state and in the last few seconds before I needed to get on the stage, I took off my shoes. I needed some extra grounding this time, the audience was huge and I was terrified. I had prepared more than ever before, I was ready and yet still incredibly nervous. My thoughts were broken by an explosion of applause, I jumped up and ran onto the stage with a huge smile on my face.
I scanned the audience, took a deep breath and began. By the time I was into my third sentence I was calm, collected and fully present to the story and the audience was engrossed. I didn’t feel time pass, I had no idea of anything going on around me other than the life of the story and the experience of the audience.
All was well.
By now, as you read this, I’m guessing you’re quite engrossed in the story, right?
Even though it’s just the start.
Well, I don’t want to talk to you about stage fright – I’ll leave that to another post. I’d like to talk to you about the story you’ve just read. What made it compelling? Why did you not stop reading in the middle? And of course, this is a guide you can use to get great impact from story, fast.
- Start in the middle of the action – ‘the audience quietened down and settled in…) – you’re immediately placed inside a moment and you don’t quite understand what’s happening. This draws attention and requires the reader/listener to start trying to figure out what’s going on – you always need to keep the listener busy.
- Make sure something happens early on – when the action starts early, we are immediately wondering, what’s going to happy next (‘I repeated the mantra, took off my shoes’). Curiosity makes for interest and engagement in the story.
- Show up in a clear state – there was no doubt how I felt from the beginning in the story here – you need to share where you are and what you feel through emotion or action. This is an invitation for your audience to feel too.
Three simple steps that are guaranteed to make what you say resonate with a reader/listener so that you can have more impact in the way you speak. And I don’t just mean for speaking on a stage. I mean for everything you do in your business. When you can engage people and have impact with your words, you can create a viable business – as simple as that.
Okay, so now it’s your turn. Post your ‘story-start’ in the comments – I’ll respond and give feedback to each one.
And don’t forget to share.