How to tell a story so your audience moves from polite nodding to active responding.
It was August 2013 and my friend Steve was standing on stage facing out into a crowd of 8000 people. He was talking about Sozo, an education centre he was dreaming of building to change the lives of young people living in Cape Town, South Africa. Suddenly, Steve had an idea — just throw it out there, set this audience a challenge. It was just an idea, but this is what came out of his mouth — “I was counting the seats in this arena. If each of you gave £6, we could build an education centre for these young people”.
What happened after he uttered these words has literally changed lives. One woman got up, walked towards Steve, and lay down £20 at his feet. Then another, then another, then another. Then the buckets came out. Then people started climbing over chairs to get to the buckets. Seven and a half minutes later there was £35,400 in the bucket and five years later, two weeks ago, we were standing in Capetown in the very education centre that had once been a dream! Steve often says “He who tells the best story wins”. No kidding.
So how do you “Do a Steve”, how do you tell stories that move people to action, that cause people to invest in Your Sozo? Here are four really simple things you need to bring to each presentation and some resources to help you do it.
1) Bring a story (that has a beginning, middle and end)
Stanford University say that a story is 22 times more memorable than facts, so tell a story. I often get told “But the audience just want facts”. What they really want is to be so deeply engaged they can’t help but get involved. Facts are crucial and any decent story will have those facts wrapped into them. You can do both — in fact, you must do both!
2) Bring emotion and picture to your story.
2000 years ago Aristotle gave us the word “Pathos” — emotion. You may have good character, you may have good content, but if you don’t show emotion, it doesn’t stick and people don’t remember. Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick” and Carmine Gallo’s “Five Stars — the communication secrets to get from Good to Great” are brilliant places to start if you want to learn how to tell stories well.
3) Bring yourself to the story — control the adrenaline..
Adrenaline is a thief that will steal, kill and destroy your presentation unless you start to do battle with it. You can tell stories, but adrenaline tells you you can’t. It makes you forget your words, compare, forget who you are and shrink to a lesser version of you. So how do you control adrenaline? Have a watch of our 1 minute warm up for some very practical tips on this. Once you are more in control, you can bring yourself to the story.
4) Bring the energy to the story.
When you are presenting you are not having a normal conversation, you are delivering something to someone. That delivery requires energy, like an actor uses when they act (I should know, I used to do it). It is not about playing a part, it is about amplifying yourself. How do you do that? Here is sneak peak of our academy that has some instant hacks. Ultimately, you have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. If you feel exposed, weird and exhausted you are probably in the right zone.