Written By: Sandy Bjorgen, IMPROV-able Results ~
Do you want to be a public speaker? Occasionally? Regularly? Yes? But?
- Don’t know how? - it’s a learned skill.
- Too shy? Get stage fright? - Been there. That can be fixed.
- No opportunities to gain experience? - They’re all around you.
So, let’s start. Step one is to have something to say. Something others will want to hear. Something you’re excited to present to the right audience – the one that is waiting for you.
You say you have nothing to share, nothing to contribute? You’ve had a lot of experiences in your life so far. Nothing new? Well, it’s more about your take on it, what you’ve learned and can share to help others – this makes you unique. You need a good story to draw them in.
I developed a 3-part process called “Story Starters.” Think back over your life. Zero in on something that had such an impact on you that it’s hard to forget. It changed you in an important way. Here’s the process:
- Ask yourself, “What happened?” Summarize the event.
- Ask yourself, “How did it affect me? What did I feel, think, learn?”
- Ask yourself, “Who might benefit from hearing about this?”
Keep a journal of story starters. Select one and expand on it, adding details over time. Here’s one of my starters:
- In a junior high contest, I was too embarrassed to raise my hand and vote for myself. I voted for my competitor – which gave her the win. So, I gave away an opportunity that I had worked hard for and desperately wanted. A friend said, “Why didn’t you vote for yourself?” Yes. Why?
- I felt devastated, cheated, angry with myself. I thought: “I have to start standing up for myself. I can’t expect others to.” Slowly, I began putting myself out there more to actively promote my own ideas and work. It became clear that I had to develop the courage to take responsibility for myself – to stand up and stand out. It would be difficult - but essential for my success in life.
- I saw others struggling with the same issue. It wasn’t just me. They needed the awareness and encouragement to stand up for themselves. I began to tell them my story and ask them to examine their own.
Our stories can help us avoid boring our audiences. They help us bring to life the issues and emotions that others can identify with. We can inspire others to take positive action when they feel connected and hopeful.
Stay tuned for next steps in preparing to be a good public speaker.