Wow, I learned a TON at last week's National Speakers Association 2014 convention. Here are the Top 10 Tips I gleaned to boost your Story POWER, paired with quotes from the speakers who shared them. I hope you find these ideas as valuable as I did.
Tip #10: Practice your stories over and over again to develop mastery. When you bomb (and everyone does once in a while), pick yourself up, practice some more, and do it better the next time. "In my business I fail as much as I succeed, but I try to learn each time." Kevin Harrington, serial entrepreneur, author, Shark Tank star
Tip #9: Choose compelling characters and use their quotes to express their personality. "And then my waiter--Stephan--asked me, 'Do you want cheese like snow in Denver? Or do you want cheese like snow in Paris?' And suddenly I realized, this was no longer about cheese." Toni Newman, speaker and award-winning entrepreneur
Tip #8: Before you tell a story orally, write it down and edit out everything that doesn't move the action forward. "An amateur storyteller always gives more information than you need; the beginner's biggest mistake is too many words." Ken Futch, speaker, author,president of Ken Futch and Associates
Tip #7: Look to your parents, your grandparents or your heritage for great stories that explain something important about you. "Your story often begins where someone else's story ends." Carmen Agra Deedy, New York Times best-selling children's author
Tip #6: Eliminate as much attribution (he said/she said) from your story as you can. Indicate which character is talking by pivoting your body 45 degrees to the right or left. "When you talk about it, people hear it; when you act it out, they feel it." Doug Stevenson, founder of Story Theater Intl.
Tip #5:Be funny! "You have to inject humor into serious material. Laugh at yourself to build audience trust first, and then you can get serious." Mark Mayfield, The Corporate Comedian
Tip #4: Use Hollywood's favorite storytelling elements--characters, dialog, setting, action, conflict, suspense--to tell client success stories that captivate people and make them to want to work with you. "Play the movie." Gerry Lantz, brand storyteller, founder of Stories That Work, Inc.
Tip #3: Step in and out of the action: Narrate only when necessary; act out key scenes in your story. "Acting it out creates emotional triggers that make your audience feel they're with you in the story." Doug Stevenson, founder of Story Theater Intl.
Tip #2: Create resonance with your audience; make them the hero of your story while thinking of yourself as a guide or mentor. "A story is one of the best ways to change people. Hitting something inside someone else can move them to transform an idea into action." Nancy Duarte, designer, author of Resonate: Present visual stories that transform audiences.
And the #1 Tip I Learned from World-Class Speakers: Send your audience love before you step on stage to tell your stories. "They're not here for you; they're here because they have problems they hope you can solve." Dr. Sean Stephenson, therapist, speaker, author of Get Off Your BUT: How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself.