Four Reasons for Public Speaking

From the days of the earliest storytellers, people have spoken to each other to convey common human experiences. Sharing these experiences brings together people from many different lifestyles and helps them to connect.

Every day, you are on the receiving end of public speaking. For the most part, you might not even be aware that someone is “doing” public speaking. The best speakers and presenters speak in a natural way that invites you to make some change in your life, no matter how small. There are four essential purposes of public speaking, listed below in random order:

1. To Entertain.
It seems that the best public speakers these days tend to be the comedians and storytellers who can make us laugh or touch our emotions. If you have good storytelling techniques, you can command the attention of any audience. As a public speaker, you can lift the spirits of your listeners through an entertaining presentation and still any of the items listed below as well.

2. To Educate.
A well-prepared public speaker can help anyone of any age learn new ideas, concepts and skills. In formal settings such as schools, a good speaker moves students beyond “Do I hafta learn this?” to “I can’t believe I learned so much!” Outside of learning institutions, there are many places for anyone to give great educational speeches such as community organizations and health-care institutions. Smart people of any age always want to learn and there is a place for you to teach with public speaking.

3. To Convince.
If you want someone to change his or her mind about a subject, then public speaking is the key to that change. While the Internet has brought us many ways to be in touch, the well-told story from an authentic speaker is still King in communication.

4. To Inspire.
While the “motivational speaker” may be a cliche that is abused on comedy shows, a person who is passionate about their topic and has coupled that with effective audience-reaching speaking skills can inspire both young and old to reach for something beyond themselves.

While most public speakers try to create positive messages, it is possible to fall into a fifth reason for speaking: to manipulate. When you speak, think about your goals and reason for speaking. Are you trying to build up your community and the people in it? Or, are you attempting to build up something or someone through false stories and lies? Be wary of manipulating your audience through your speeches.

Public speaking can be fun and educational for both your audience and you. Create some good presentations today.

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Many people are nervous about public speaking, but a good coach and teacher can help you overcome that hurdle. The author, Sean Buvala, has been speaking about and training clients in the use of storytelling techniques for public speaking since 1986. Hundreds of companies and thousands of individual learners have experienced his work as a coach. He is the executive director of Storyteller.net and lives in Arizona.

For more information about Sean’s half-day workshop that teaches you to harness the power of business, nonprofit and corporate storytelling, please visit our website at http://seantells.com/morethanspeaking.

Hear Sean

I’ll list all my podcasts here. Subscribe to the ones that interest you. Thanks.

lion out of cut paperStory On Saturday
Short, small tales with a brief commentary. Under 5 minutes. Adults and teens.
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black and white picture of sean buvala with the the title of the storytelling podcast in blueHear Sean Tell Stories
An experiment in looking back at recordings from my 30 years of oral storytelling. Stories are mostly for adults and teens. These are not for kids. Live and studio recordings. I’ll share some tellings I really loved and probably some that didn’t work. Those might be the teachable moment, if you will. These will probably go out every month or more often, depending on my schedule.
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“Story on Saturday” Podcast

I’ve created a new weekly podcast for you, full of short stories. We’re basing it out of Anchor.fm, but we’ll add the stream here. Latest Update: Week 7 for September 23, 2017.

You can also subscribe on GOOGLE. Click this link to go to the podcast page there.

Get it on Itunes or Apple Podcast.

 

Week 1: “Lion and Hare and a Well.” The fable is a traditional Aesop tale. I’ve shortened it a bit from previous tellings. Do the powerful have the right to oppress? Let’s let the victims become the victors. Launching a new and faster podcast over on Anchor for as long as I can keep up with it. 4:15 second listen.

Week 2: “The Hare and His Ears” by Aesop. The powerful should ban those who are different? Maybe everyone will leave. 3:16 run time.

Week 3: “The Miser and His Gold” by Aesop. Go ahead, collect wealth only to stare at it. Or maybe not. 3:30 Run Time.

Week 4: “The Lion’s Share” by Aesop. When the powerful hunt with the lesser, who do you think gets the the spoils?

Week 5: “The Fox and the Hedgehog.” Who has the most tricks? Who has the one best trick? An Aesopian Grimm tale by way of Romania or the like.

Week 6: “The Lion and His Bad Breath.” Does power require good news, delivered twice a day? The questions of speaking truth-to-power is an old theme. Also known as ” The Lion and his Councilors.”

Week 7: “The Eagle at the Concert.” It’s hard to speak truth to power; that is why so few can do it. An Aesop-influenced fable.

Do You Want A Podcast Sometimes Darker, Harder, Off-Kilter? Try:
watercolor rave head with the words of the podcast on it

Credits:
Art work on the yellow lion is from The Mesquite Tree Studio in Arizona.

The good British voiceover on Episodes 3 and later come from SuperWiseMon.

Music credit: “Baba Yaga” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

image with words sun stories for your listening pleasure in orange lettering with a faded image of the sun shining through trees

Eclipse Storytelling

Block out some time to let these stories shine in your life. All stories performed by me from my CD, “Calling Out a Rising Sun.” The CD doesn’t have the Storyteller.net Amphitheater tags on it, of course.

1. Calling Out a Rising Sun

A story about the 10 suns hiding in a cave. Originally created by me for a program on addiction recovery.


2. The Sun Chases the Moon

A story about the sun chasing the moon. While it is my original story, the idea of the sun and moon in a chase is an old concept. It was included on the CD as a story about the mentor/mentee relationship between on men and boys.




Our Wild Winter Sun shirt at Amazon.

Storytelling Techniques for Research and Science.

The more esoteric your work is, the more you need to use storytelling in your job. To those of you in the IT (or any technology at all) and Research departments, I am talking to you. I’m also talking to you in STEM and STEaM programming.

Sometimes it is hard for the others in your company to understand the ins and outs of the mysteries of technology and research. By using the power of storytelling techniques in your communications, you can create the “frames” to highlight, carry and explain the bigger concepts of your work.

light streams into tall windows filled with wooden frameworkEvery house I have ever been in has a wall or table filled with pictures of family and friends. Rather than just glue these pictures to the wall, the pictures are placed in frames that help draw the eye to the subjects contained within. In the most artistic of homes, the frames surrounding these pictures have been carefully chosen to help emphasize the content of the pictures. Done well, the frames are an extension of the pictures. The more important the pictures (the “everybody in the family” type) have the most expensive and sturdy frames.

Just like these picture frames in someone’s home, your ability to frame your complicated and important data in the context of a memorable story will protect and carry your message to your listeners. None of this has to be complicated by the way. Even simple framework in a sun-lit window creates even more beauty, turning glare into art.

Let me give you an example of how this works.

a shiny metal golden egg sitting on some blue carpeting...a close upYou could talk about the collection methods used to complete a survey and how that proves the validity of the data. However, folks want results first. So, instead of talking first about how the data means you must completely drop an ingrained and “sacred cow” program from your company, you could start with the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” (JATBS) emphasizing how Jack’s mother was furious with Jack for trading her sacred cow for a few magic beans. However, in the end, Jack ends up with a goose that lays golden eggs, giving Jack and his mother more than they ever dreamed of.

You will the present your data after you tell your version of JATBS, showing the data that correlates to your conclusion. Then, you might lead a discussion based on the data that asks, “Just like the mother in JATBS, what do we in our company fear from what the data tells us? In what ways is this data like magic beans for our company’s future?”

You can then end your presentation with a recap of JATBS. Now, you have framed your data (data is important and needed) in the center of a very familiar and comfortable story. I can assure you that the first time you do this process, you will wade through some discomfort and come out with a presentation that will cement the conclusions of your data into the minds of your listeners.

Here are three things you should know about story and narrative as framing tools.

1. People just want to know “what’s in it for me?”

Your fellow employees are not as interested in the mechanics of your job as you are. I know you have gone to school to learn how statics work. I know you understand the many ways to hook up one computer to another in your office. However, the people you work with have not gone to the same schools you have. For most of them, how you collected the data is not nearly as important as what the data implies and instructs for their work. Storytelling lets you talk about benefits of research and technology, not just mechanics.

2. Stories remind you to speak in the language of the people: your fellow employees or even the general public.

Although the idea of the uncommunicative IT employee or scientist is an unfair cultural joke, there are those in your company that are still slightly afraid of you. When they know you will speak in ways they understand, they are more open to hear what you have to say. When you can give folks the story of how others have benefited by the work you are proposing, they will feel better about providing you the tools and time to fulfill your projects. In a sense, storytelling allows others to know you are “on their side.” It’s far better to talk to others about how Susan at the other office could get twice as much work done in the same amount time after the expensive software update you have proposed rather than list of the uncommon features of database processing.

3. Your CFO approves funds for results not information.

Most people hate the process of change. Results are better than promises. Stories are the frames that carry results. You will get much more support for any project when folks know how others have benefited from your proposals. How the office across the city became so efficient that they now have a four-day workweek is one-hundred percent more effective in getting results than any presentation of how a Blade server works.

Your work in statics, data and technology is vital to your company. Even more vital is your ability to communicate the benefits of your work to the rest of your company through good business presentation skills. Information framed in the context of story, information carried by understandable narratives, will stick with your fellow staff members much longer than data alone. Take a chance and frame your next presentation in story.

Go deeper into this subject on how to create a story with my short-and-focused book on designing your stories: “Measures of Story,” over on Amazon.

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Sean Buvala is an award-winning trainer who teaches businesses and nonprofit organizations how to grow their bottom line and employee satisfaction through the power of storytelling. You learn more about his work at www.seantells.com. Follow him at Twitter @storyteller .