Randy Harvey has many titles. He is the 2004 World Champion of Public Speaking. He is also an attorney, a former school administrator, a professional speaker, and a devoted family man.
I would call him a pirate. [I mean that in only a positive sense, by the way.] Randy is a passionate student of the art of public speaking. He offers a unique perspective on storytelling. I call him a pirate because he is a master at helping people discover their ‘treasure.’ In speaking, stories are your treasure.
Before Randy agrees to work with anyone on their speeches, he asks them to consider three important questions. These questions are the ‘shovel and axe’ that help you dig deep to improve your speaking.
What’s interesting is that you may never be able to fully answer these questions.
However, I recommend that you carefully give these questions thought as you prepare your stories. Your answers will help you develop messages that resonate deeply within audiences. They will also help you create stories that will be remembered long after you speak.
What are these three questions?
Question #1 – Who are you?
Nothing like a good, metaphysical question to start you off, right?
There are some additional questions that can help you answer this one:
What roles do you fill?
What do you most believe in?
What is your philosophy of life?
Why do you do what you do?
What would the ideal you look and feel like?
This question, Who are You, can’t be answered in just a few minutes. That’s because it’s meant to get to the essence of who you are. Once you understand this, and you’re
willing to share these parts of your personality with audiences, you will create stories that resonate deeply within them
Question #2 – What are you about? Some additional questions to help answer this one:
1. What are your core values?
2. Which ones do you believe in so strongly you would die for them?
For example: Freedom? Family? Love?
I know what you may be thinking right about now. ‘Michael, I just want to learn to tell stories. What’s with these deep, philosophical questions! What’s up with you?’
I understand. Answering these questions will be the most difficult work you do in creating your stories.
With regard to core values, once you determine which are most important to you, go back to your story file and choose the stories which best illustrate those values.
Question #3 – Where did you learn these values? Who or what taught you those ideas that you hold most dear? Was it a person[s]? Was it an idea you picked up from a book? Did you hear it in a class?
Wherever you learned it, that was a point of change in your life. If you’re familiar with the concept of “Sail the Seven Cs to Sensational Storytelling” you know that the 5th C is change. This is the part of your story audiences most want to know.
How did this experience change you? How was your life improved?
Your best stories will be born from that third question. The answers to this will provide the catalyst for the change you experienced, and which other people may want to go through.
With the insight you gain from these questions, you will also have a deeper
understanding of your WHY. In his bestselling book, ‘Start With WHY,’ author Simon Sinek discusses the power of correctly answering the question ‘What do you do?’ Most people respond with answers like, “Well, I’m a lawyer,” or, “I’m a teacher.”
The problem with these answers is that they don’t get to the core of why you do the
work you do, or, why you are the person that you are. Attorneys probably don’t get up in the morning eager to practice law. They do it to defend the wrongly accused or to prevent injustice. Most teachers are motivated more by the idea of molding young minds and helping kids reach their full potential.
Mr. Sinek believes that when you first explain WHY you do something, you make a deeper emotional connection and create longer-term relationships.
This is also true with storytelling. When you go through the process of answering the three questions, you begin to understand the WHY of what you do, and who you are. You will have a deeper understanding of your true nature, the real
So get out your shovel and pick – the three questions – and uncover your treasure.
With this new knowledge, your speaking won’t simply entertain, it’ll impact others. You’ll change the way they think, feel, or act. Ultimately, that is why you stand up and speak to any audience. It’s the greatest gift you can give them.
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