Speakers: Make an Impression - Ignore This Myth

Why Speakers and Storytellers Need to Ignore This Common Myth

Ron and I were chatting over breakfast. He said, “I was recently told that speakers should never talk about themselves on stage.” This was the fourth time in a month someone had said that to me about speakers.

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. That comes across as self-serving and people don’t want to hear you brag.

And that’s the crux of the problem with this myth. It isn’t that people don’t want to hear your story. What they don’t want is to only hear an ongoing list of your accomplishments.

That is what well-meaning people are trying to convey when they say, “Don’t talk about yourself.” What they mean is “Don’t talk only about your successes. Tell about the struggles along the way to your victories.”

A Speakers Best Source

Your best material will always be your story. That’s 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.

Talk about the conflicts you’ve had — 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’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 narratives should add to yours, to give them contrast or context. For example, I have a talk in which I discuss my Dad’s impact as a teacher. His story sets up my dream of becoming a professional speaker and speech coach. Dad’s example help me overcome my own struggles to accomplish this.

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’d faced. Then share the victory and the improved life you’re living.

Do this, and you’ll leave a lasting impact.



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Speakers: Make an Impression – Ignore This Myth ultima modifica: 2018-10-07T16:05:45-04:00 da Michael Davis