Ron and I were chatting over breakfast. He said, “I was recently told speakers should never talk about themselves on stage.”
This was the fourth time in a month someone had said that to me.
I said, “Who gave you that advice?”
He said, “A guy I know who’s done a kit of speaking.”
Curious, I asked, “What did he tell you to talk about?”
“Stories about other people who’ve influenced me,” Ron said.
That’s the answer I expected. And it’s wrong.
Understanding Why Speakers Are Told This Myth
A common belief in speaking is that you shouldn’t talk about yourself because you come across as self-serving and people don’t want to hear you brag.
As a general rule, this makes sense. Audiences want to know how you can improve THEIR lives. Telling them about your background, your accomplishments and your company’s history doesn’t accomplish this — it alienates them.
This is what well-meaning people are trying to convey when they say, “Don’t talk about yourself.”
However, when it comes to storytelling, this focus needs to change. Audiences don’t want to hear only about your successes. What they DO want is an insight into problems and challenges you or your clients have overcome.
A Speakers Best Source
The best way to do this will always be your story because it’s the most personal to you. You have your deepest emotional connection to the events in your life. You will speak from the heart more deeply when you share experiences you’ve had.
The second best source is the narrative about a client whom you helped overcome a problem and create a better life.
The key to these stories is conflict — external and internal. Audiences won’t always relate to the external story. You may be talking about a divorce, bankruptcy, or job loss from your dream career. Not everyone has experienced those events.
But, if you talk about the fear, doubt, and pain those events triggered, others can relate to those. And that’s where you’ll connect with them.
Should Speakers Ignore Other People’s Stories?
Does this mean you shouldn’t talk about others?
It means that your main stories should be about your experiences. Other people’s can be helpful, but only if they give deeper insight into yours.
One of my stories is about my Dad’s impact as a teacher. His story sets up my dream of becoming a professional speaker and speech coach. Dad’s example helped me overcome my own struggles to accomplish this.
The key to your story is:
The problem you overcame and the new life you’re living must be relevant to the listener.
Or, as my friend Mark Brown, CSP says,
“Your story is about you but it’s for THEM.”
If you want to make a fast and deep connection with others, talk about the person you know best — YOU.
Don’t talk endlessly about your accomplishments. Give us insight into the obstacles and struggles you’ve faced. Then share the victory and the improved life you’re living.
Do this, and you’ll leave a lasting impact.
Pick Up World Class Speaking Insights and a Quick Way to Write Memorable Speeches
Writing meaningful and memorable speeches can be intimidating and frustrating. Especially if you don’t have a lot of preparation time.
To help you solve this problem, and connect you with like-minded speakers, consider joining us in the Public Speaking Mastery group.
We’ll show you how to increase your impact and influence, and become the kind of speaker others want to hear.
For more information, check out this document – Click Here. To take advantage of our year-end special price and determine how this group can best benefit you, schedule a brief ZOOM call with me to discuss. To schedule your call, Click Here