Author Archives: Lisa Evans

One Day – Stories From The Heart

Stories From The Heart – One Day Can Change Everything

Guest blog post by Louise Kelly

At the Scarlet Room of Hotel Northbridge Perth, eight very different stories, plus two pop-up stories and an interactive improvised theatre segment, all storytellers took us on an emotional rollercoaster.

The stories made us laugh together, feel pain, feel uplifted, and feel connected as humans at the Stories From The Heart (SFTH) live storytelling event.

First-time live storytelling goer Lisa Froome described it as,

“So personal and real. They really are stories from the heart”.

Storytelling with Purpose – Giving Back to the Community

The proceeds from ticket sales are donated to the Cancer Council of WA.
Lisa Evans, Director of Speaking Savvy and founder and MC of Stories From The Heart, celebrated story number 100 at this seventh highly successful event.

Stories From The Heart Book Coming Soon…..

It was revealed that Stories From The Heart: Tales of Inspiration, will be launched on 25 March 2018. This is a multi-author compilation of short stories all previously told on stage at one of the events.

Lisa charmed us with her own special one day that changed everything, the day she first met and ‘won’ her husband in a sweepstake 26 years ago.

Each story is special and unique

In only six minutes each of the storytellers shared something very special with us for different reasons.

Dr Nicky Howe was first up and amazed us with her stories of tenaciously surviving the Army Reserve recruit training trials.
Miss Determination was never going to give up, no matter what they threw at her.

We knew immediately Jacqui Alder stepped up on stage and announced “Fanny’s – where the fun begins” we were in for a good time and weren’t disappointed. Jacqui made us all feel warm and fuzzy as we laughed along with her on her nightclub adventures. “Love is where you find it and not always where you expect it to be”.

Geoff Miethe then shared his secret of outsmarting fear that he learnt from the mysterious ‘hairy man’.

Next up was tiny adventurer Mel Chatfield, had us horrified with her hilarious action account, not only of literally crawling out of a remote long-drop toilet in Nepal, but also what she had to do next. “Life doesn’t always go according to plan”. It was Mel’s first time at SFTH and when I congratulated her afterwards she said, “I wanted to pull out and so glad I didn’t”.

I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more of her travel tales.

It seems that the men have been reluctant to put themselves forward and open up and share a story.
Lisa made a call encouraging more men to step up and come forward to tell a story. Apparently, it makes them more attractive to women (according to the Daily Mail).

Someone who did not need for that, first-timer to SFTH Chris Smoje, encouraged us all to follow our passion and create something to be proud.
Triggered by his search for the missing word for a eulogy, he inspired us with his one day that changed everything for him.

Putting on your ‘big girl panties’

After the break Nichola Renton, from the fabulous interactive Perth Playback Theatre delved into the audience and gathered stories of self-nourishment for Mental Health Week. Arlene Quinn and the members, barefoot, and dressed only in black, then acted them out on the spot. Using crates and racks of long coloured fabric as props, it was highly entertaining. Highlights for me were the imaginative tribute to Days of our Lives and putting on your ‘big girl panties’ to tackle something challenging.

Next Fiona Jeanne shifted the mood with her powerful story of self-discovery to “becoming functionally selfish” and your own best friend.

Brave audience members share a Pop-Up story

There are Pop-Up stories shared by volunteers who put their name in the hat. These are unprepared stories. First pop-up was Tony Hagan’s unexpected day with a new and vomiting employee.

Another pop up was a last-minute guest, Ryan Wareing, who surprised everyone by bravely jumping up and describing his romantic proposal that simply did not go as planned. I’ll never look at Two Peoples Bay the same way again.

I found myself holding my breath the next minute as Lizz Clarke laid herself bare with her raw and compelling story of clinging to hope. It was very moving, and there were a few tears in the audience. I felt heartened to hear of the “freezer filling friends” who supported her through her tough times.

Veteran SFTH performer Michelle Sandford then finished off the night with a bang and left us laughing at the end when she told the story of the day she ‘Yes, and-ed, the s&*% out of that” and fell in love.

As always it was a great mix of surprises and unexpected moments that bonded us through shared emotions and feelings.

“First time – such a fun event” Di Roots

It is a truly unique experience, and incredible value for money and all profits go to a chosen charity.

I recommend you try and get tickets for the next one as they’ll quickly sell out as space will be limited. It’s back at Lazy Susan’s on 3 December and theme is What if?… Get your tickets here

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Written by special Guest Blogger Louise Kelly, Principal, Louise Kelly Consulting;

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly is a professional development expert, passionate about co-operation, collaboration, and connection.
Louise has been presenting, facilitating, and coaching for the last 18 years and her degrees are in Psychology and Training & Development. She is an avid traveller and enjoyed 13 years working in the airlines. Her flying adventures include surviving a Mayday situation, a runaway horse around the pyramids in Giza, scuba diving in Kenya, flying over the icebergs in the Arctic, driving an open-topped sports car through the desert to Vegas, and partying at Sir Richard Branson’s.

To find out more about Louise you can connect with her on LinkedIn or louise@louisekellyconsulting.com.au

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Photography by Pille Qrabat of Perth Personality Photographer

More images are available in the shop and for your own personal or business use of the images, please purchase the copyright through the website and get a watermark free version here 

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Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Keynote Speaker and TEDx Speaker Coach. Based in Perth, Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and compelling business stories.

One day Perth Public Speaking and Storytelling for Leaders Workshop – next one 23 November find out more here

Storytelling for Changemakers half day workshop – next one 25 November find out more here

 

I’m Lisa Evans, ‘The Story Midwife’ I love sharing all things Storytelling. If you would like to chat about how I can help you create a compelling story for your business, brand or presentation contact me here 

Bring some Hollywood to your storytelling

Lisa-evans-storytelling-heros-journey

Hollywood Storytelling

The Hero’s Journey has universal appeal

Every good story has key elements that make it a success. A hero who is on a journey, some conflict and obstacles, a reward and the hero returning a different person.

Stories built on the model of the hero’s myth are powerful and have universal appeal. These stories spring from a common source and reflect everyday concerns.

The questions we all ponder: Who am I? Why am I here? What happens if I continue on this path? What is good or bad? I wonder what will tomorrow be like?

Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey

In 1949, scholar Joseph Campbell wrote The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and in his work, he outlined 17 stages of the mythological hero’s journey.

Christopher Vogler condensed the Hero’s Journey into 12 stages

Several decades later, Christopher Vogler wanted to show Hollywood script writers how every movie can, and should, follow Cambell’s pattern; and in doing so, Vogler condensed the stages of the Hero’s Journey into 12 steps. In 1985 he wrote “A practical guide to Joseph Cambell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces”.

Here are the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey (adapted from Christopher Vogler)

Ordinary World

The hero is introduced to the audience. The hero is usually uneasy or uncomfortable, and the ordinary world is often dull and gray. There is often some polarity or push/pull in the hero’s life which may be causing stress.

The call to adventure

The hero is about to undergo significant change. From deep within, or an external pressure will spark this strong calling. The hero is presented with a challenge, a problem or an adventure.

Refusal of the call

Initially, the hero is unsure and reluctant to cross the threshold to the adventure on offer; this is usually because the hero is afraid of the unknown. Sometimes another character in the story may point out the uncertainty and danger that may lie ahead.

Meeting with the mentor

The hero crosses paths with a mentor who has experience and wisdom, usually a seasoned traveler in the path that the hero is about to take. The mentor will offer wise words, some training or piece of equipment that will help the reluctant hero.
The mentor goes so far with the hero and then encourages the hero to face the unknown by themselves. It may be a helping hand or some words of comfort, but equally, as important, the mentor give a kick in the butt to push the hero along.
In some cases, the courage and wisdom can come from deep within.

Crossing the threshold

This is the end of Act one, and the hero is now ready to leave the ordinary world and go forth to the next step of the adventure. This is the point where the story set off in a new direction. The hero is now committed, and there is no turning back.

Tests, allies, and enemies

In the special world, there will be tests and challenges the hero is forced to make. There will be friends met along the way, as well as one or more enemies.

Approach to the innermost cave

This is the most dangerous part of the journey. This can also be the hero going into the darkest place of fear in their mind or dream world.

Ordeal

This is the central part of the story where the hero confronts the innermost fear, is on the brink of death or is forced to fight with a mythical beast. Out of this event comes a significant change.
All along, the audience has identified with the hero; we will feel that ‘near death’ experience, and we feel so relieved when the hero returns from death.

The reward

Having survived the ordeal, the hero now takes possession of the treasure they have been seeking. It could be a special weapon or power; it could be a new wave of courage and confidence. There may also be a reconciliation here as the ordeal has changed the hero and they may be more understanding.

The road back

Just as we think the ordeal is over for the hero there comes another challenge. This is usually around 3/4 of the way through the journey. The ordeal back is never straight forward, but how the hero approaches the new challenges will be different with their new found skills and powers.

Resurrection

Almost home, the hero is tested once again, and then there is the final act of death and rebirth; the hero is ultimately transformed by this experience.

Return with the Elixir

The hero comes back into the ordinary world and brings the elixir or treasure or a particular lesson. Perhaps, this could be a treasure won from a quest, love or purely a lesson learned to pass on to benefit others.

 

Adapt the Hero’s Journey to suit your storytelling style

A word of warning. Treat the hero’s myth as a skeleton. If you follow the structure too rigidly, you will be calling attention to the fact, and the story may seem stiff and inauthentic. There are many variations to the Hero’s Journey. Come up with your tweaks to make it work for you. You can leave a stage out, add another, or shuffle the order of the stages. You can do this without any loss of power in the story. Unless you are a Hollywood script writer, feel free to make your interpretation of the stages of the journey for your hero.

Come up with your tweaks to make it work for you. You can leave a stage out, add another, or shuffle the order of the stages. You can do this without any loss of power in the story. Unless you are a Hollywood script writer, feel free to make your interpretation of the stages of the journey for your hero.

The hero’s myth is fun, flexible and can be easily adapted so that you can weave the magic into your storytelling.

 

If you are keen to study mythological story structures and archetypes, then Cambell’s and Vogler’s work are a great place to start. However, if you want to start with a really simple storytelling framework, then read on.

For the past five years, I have been living and breathing storytelling. As a Certified Speaking and Storytelling Coach, I help people to create and deliver compelling stories.  You don’t have to have a rags to riches story to entertain and inspire others. As a business owner, learning to tell several stories really well will help your customers understand how you can help them.

In this article on Business Storytelling, I share tips on how to tell better stories

5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™

So you don’t have to have your sights set on Hollywood storytelling to want to use a tried and tested framework for your narrative.

I have developed a very simple 5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™ framework that has all the elements of a good story that I mentioned in the beginning; A hero who is on a journey, some conflict and obstacles, a reward and the hero returning a different person.

Here is my 5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™
Context
Choice
Challenge
Change
Carry out

Here is a short video ‘Ignite’ style in which I explain more about the storytelling model.

You can download a copy of the 5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™ by popping your email in the box on this page.

In my next article, I will share the three stories that every business needs to have.

 

Would you like me to help make your next event a success? I am able to come to your next conference or event to deliver a fun and engaging keynote or TED style talk on storytelling.


Join The Story Tribe

The next live storytelling event is on 15 October tickets here

The event will feature 9 stories as well as a special performance by Perth Playback Theatre 

For anyone living in Perth, if you would like to find out more about keynote speaking, storytelling workshops and live storytelling community events, visit Stories From The Heart and join the story tribe.

Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Keynote Speaker and TEDx Speaker Coach. Based in Perth, Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and compelling business stories.

One day Perth Public Speaking and Storytelling for Leaders Workshop – next one 1 1 October find out more here

Storytelling for Changemakers half day workshop – next one 7 October find out more here

 

Lisa Evans The Story Midwife

I’m Lisa Evans ‘The Story Midwife’ I love hearing and sharing stories. If you would like to chat about how I can help you create a compelling story for your business, brand or presentation you may contact me here 

Reflections on being a solopreneur speaker

What I have learned in business

It seems like yesterday, but it is three years since I set up my business Speaking Savvy. I have learned a lot along the way as a solopreneur speaker, there have been many highs and some lows, and plenty of falling, but isn’t it about falling forwards?

 

A solopreneur can break the rules

I am now a full-time solopreneur (whatever that means!). It is the freedom to walk the 15 seconds it takes to get to my cozy home office; to power up my diffuser with an energy oil blend, because no uptight co-worker is going to say they are allergic to the smell – being a solopreneur means I can break the rules!

Tom is never far from my side

Photo Pille Qrabat

When I am not out seeing clients I work at my desk with my dog Tom on my lap. Let me clarify; my dog is a Greyhound, he thinks he is on my lap, but only his head is on my lap.

 

Yin yoga and bingeing

I happily work for 10 hours a day, with regular short power breaks, to fill up my flask of ginger and lemongrass tea; to stretch my body with Yin yoga moves and to binge on chocolate (maybe I fooled you for a second into thinking I am super health conscious).

No waiting for approval

I am more productive in my business than I have ever been in the workforce. When I ponder this, I realise it’s because I am solely responsible for the outputs and outcomes in my business. I don’t have to wait for approval; I don’t have to hold a meeting to discuss things – I simply get on and do it.

These are the three things I am reflecting on today as I think back on my three years in business.

#1 I have all the knowledge I need to be where I am right now

I could have started my business earlier; the passion and motivation were there. But, like many who have a dream of starting a business, it’s the ‘starting bit’ not the ‘business bit’ that is the most daunting.

Just one more

I’ll just do one more certification, read one more book, do more free speaking. Whatever the “one more” is that we tell ourselves, it boils down to fear. Fear of being found out, of not knowing it all – the dreaded Imposter Syndrome.

Public-speaking-book-review-lisa-evans

The reality is, I knew more than the people I wanted to help. I knew enough for where I was then. I knew more than I gave myself credit for, and rather than thinking about what skills I had to offer, I was focussing on what skills I didn’t have.

There is always more to learn. I am committed to lifelong learning, but I am content that what I know right now is enough for where I am right now.

As a Public Speaking Coach, I get to work with some amazing clients and helping them on their speaking journeys. I continue on my speaking journey, and I have an incredible mentor who helps me.

#2 The hardest and most valuable resource to manage is time

We all have the same 1440 minutes each day; it is what we choose to do with them that counts.

In my previous career, I managed people, assets, large budgets, and contracts. Until recently, I was juggling a job as well as a business, Monday to Friday in my job and my business at the weekend (in the early stages, creating content, building relationships and my brand).

It’s easy to forget the time when you do what you loveshutterstock

Gradually over the next two years, I reduced my hours in my job and the rest of the time in the business. I am grateful I was able to access flexible working policies to allow me to work part time to allow me to grow my business. I had set days at work and the same for business.

As my speaking and coaching business got busier and I still had a contract with a government department I found myself working more hours. A seven-day working week is not uncommon but it never feels like work. Efficiently managing my time has meant that I can fit a lot into my working day.

Power breaks for productivity

I gave up watching TV when I started my business; all my information I digest in the form of podcasts or videos. I make phone calls while I walk the treadmill or around the local park with my dogs, I use the Pomodoro technique to ensure that I take power breaks for productivity for posture and to recharge. It’s  easy to forget the time when you do what you love.

#3 Ask better questions

I have worked with some fabulous people who have helped me develop my business, several I couldn’t do without.

I have also made some costly mistakes by engaging people to help me, and then finding out they were not a match for me. A couple of bad coaching experiences did put me off for a long time. There are many “experts” out there, people who promise a lot and then can’t deliver on those promises.

Living by my values

To me, the values of integrity, respect, fairness, and commitment are important.

I understand that for others their values are different. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with these people. Instead of thinking of this as a bad business decision, I think of it as a valuable development experience. As a result, I have learned to seek out people who share the same values as me. I now ask better questions.

Work with people who come recommended

I work with people who come with a recommendation from others I know who have used their services, and I don’t recommend people whom I haven’t tried their services.

If you are thinking of starting a business, then start. You have the knowledge you need right now if you are passionate about what you have to offer and are willing to learn.

You can manage your time by focussing your efforts on what matters most and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions when choosing who you want on your team.

 

Follow Lisa Evans on Facebook to find out the next #SFTHPerth event is.

Storytelling for Change Makers workshop 19 August

Public Speaking and Business Storytelling one day workshop 30 August

Next #SFTHPerth live storytelling event 15 October theme “one day can change everything”.

Seeking Story Tribe members. Have you got a story to share?

Watch and listen to these stories and more on  #SFTHPerth You tube 

The Storytelling Tribe by Michelle Sandford

The Storytelling Tribe

Turning up at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den on a Sunday night I am filled with anticipation. People greet me with smiles as I recognise them. These are people I know. More and more of them as I grab a drink at the bar and move towards the stairs.

It’s dark. It’s intimate

I love this venue; it’s dark, it’s intimate — the crowd sits together on chairs, benches, cushions — whatever, all bunched together haphazardly and the suspense builds. We chat — but we are here for something more. To share stories; laugh together; to cry together… And we know we will.

Lisa-Evans-storyelling-keynote-speaking-stories-from-the-heart

L-R Eugenie Michele Tammy Arlene Lisa Angie Godfrey Nichola Pille Rebecca Troy

Lisa Evans from Speaking Savvy has been running live storytelling events for more than a year. She finds people who have something to say and coaches them until their story comes forth. Tickets are sold, and all the profits go to charity, this time its Heart Kids WA. And almost without knowing it the Storytelling Tribe has grown.

Amazing tales were told by the storytellers

The topic was “Journeys” this time, and the Storytellers told some amazing tales. Pille Qrabat told a story called “The First Lady”, and she toppled all expectations when she revealed it was about a parrot that was jealous of her.

Arlene Quinn talked about “The Glass Ceiling”, and we laughed as she wove a story that involved Mrs. Banks’ Bloomers and two brand new bras. Then she told us that she “lives life lightly” —tremendous advice to all of us.

Lessons Learned

Michele Woods told us “Stripe by Stripe” how she discovered to live 100% in the present moment. To focus on what is right in front and be completely and devastatingly aware of it and all that it means. lisa-evans-storyteling-michele-wooods

Godfrey Baronie danced his way into our hearts with “The 20-metre journey”.

Rebecca Hannon told us “Dad’s Journey”, and she stripped away the different layers to reveal all the different people that made up her father through his lifetime. Not something many of us think to do even for ourselves — never mind our parents.

lisa-evans-stroytelling-rebecca-hannan

 

Troy Hendrickson said, “Our Journeys are full of decision points” and I laughed all the way through this one. He went far longer than allowed but no-one complained, no-one ever does…

 

Eugenie Stockmann described “The Best Birthday Present”, which to someone from the Netherlands is, of course, a bike…

 

Nichola Renton — standing proud and strong in the centre of the stage in a gorgeous full-length gown, who told us of Olive and Lorna. One small, angry and red and the other, a little cream puff.

 

My favourite quote from Nichola’s story, “We were so good at living, we forgot she was dying”. It was a glorious story called “Full Circle” that reduced everyone to tears. 

Angie Pascevicius gave us “The Unexpected Message” which was a gateway to her Lithuanian past through the medium of social media.

My good friend Nick Mortimer made us laugh as he described “Hitching a Ride” — best quote “Some people want to help drug users… and other times the drug users just want to help you”.

I loved all the stories — not just these, but all the pop-up storytellers too.
Empress Ming always makes us laugh and cry. She has the power to move me no matter where my thoughts are wandering.

But my favourite of the night was Tammy Bux. Her story was titled “Princess Selma Shining Through” and she spoke of how her differences have become her strengths. The importance of being authentic. Of learning who you are and leaning into that. She said, “in the end, just like Princess Leia, I didn’t want anyone to rescue me — I became a storyteller and I rescued myself.”

Lisa-evans-storytelling-tammy-bux

We experience highs and lows without leaving our seats

It was like exploring the world, seeing other people’s families, their hearts and their minds — and we got to experience their highs and their lows without ever leaving our seats.

It’s an incredible experience, and I feel so privileged to be part of the this Tribe of Storytellers.

Follow Lisa Evans on Facebook to find out the next #SFTHPerth event is.

Storytelling for Change Makers workshop 19 August

Next #SFTHPerth live storytelling event 15 October theme “one day can change everything”.

Seeking Story Tribe members. Have you got a story to share?

Watch and listen to these stories and more on  #SFTHPerth You tube 

 

This post is written by Michelle Sandford, a #SFTHPerth regular. In fact, she has been to every event!

Michelle Sandford works for Microsoft. She is the Vice Chair of the Australian Computer Society in WA, a Tedx Speaker, a Tech Girl Superhero and one of MCV’s 30 Most Influential Women in Games. You can follow Michelle on LinkedIn for her articles; on Twitter for events, interesting shares and occasional commentary in 140 characters, Facebook to see where she is presenting next, YouTube for videos and Instagram for dog photos.

 

Photographs by Perth Personality Photography

Business Storytelling – How to be Memorable

Lisa Evans - Speaking Savvy - Storytelling

5 Secrets to Memorable Business Storytelling.

Business Storytelling. Everyone is talking about it, few do it well.

Business Storytelling is a buzzword among entrepreneurs and leaders. But honestly, how many people actually do it well? You are probably a “natural” storyteller, think of the “water cooler” stories. But what may happen when you present to a group on a topic that is business related, is that you default to a formal data-driven approach, leaving aside your natural charisma and conversational style.
Most people agree that business storytelling is a useful tool of influence, but then continue to create another presentation that is top heavy with poorly designed slides or chock full of data. Often this common method of presentation is the fall back. Perhaps you are ready to try storytelling, but you are not sure where to start?
We live in an information economy. We have access to more information than we can use, more facts than we can process. What we do crave is help to “join the dots,” to make sense of data, to find inner wisdom. When we hear a balance of logic and emotion, we are far more likely to take action.
Lisa Evans - Speaking Savvy Storytelling Logic Emotion

“Logic makes people think, but it is emotion, that makes people act.” Zig Ziglar.

It’s not about telling fairy tales

Business stories are supported by facts. Leaders are not there to tell fairy tales! Instead, the idea is to create a story narrative that is compelling enough to stick in the minds of the listeners, long after they have heard it. A good story lives on, and on.
The good news is, that you have all have all the tools you need to be an effective storyteller, but you may need to sharpen the tools to fully unlock your storytelling prowess.
If you really want to make a lasting impression, aim to be a master storyteller. It takes effort and practice, but I believe it is worth it.

An effective story has key ingredients

You have plenty of experiences and material for stories at your fingertips, but for many, it is the link between a story and a strategic objective that is not so clear.
The difference between personal and business storytelling is, that the latter has a purpose. A good story also has a plot, at least two central characters and a call to action.
Once you learn to capture and harness your stories, you will have a story suitable for every occasion. If you want to foster real change, then be prepared to dig a little deeper. Just scratching the surface, rarely will do the trick. Storytelling is not about perfection, not every story will have a happy ending. Be prepared to share the “warts ‘n all version”, it may even be a little messy, but so is life and business. Aim to be vulnerable if need be, but most of all be authentic.

In business storytelling, remember that you or your business is not the hero of the story, the customer is.

 

Without emotion, there is no change

According to Steve Denning, author of The Leaders Guide to Storytelling, “the idea that storytelling is a rare skill possessed by relatively few human beings is nonsense.  We tell stories naturally in the informal setting, it is only when we get up and stand in front of an audience that we forget to be ourselves and enjoy sharing the ancient art of storytelling”.
Forget the rational and objective, that will get you so far but quite simply without emotion, there is no change. Data alone won’t get your message across in a way that is easy to remember and recall.
To be memorable in your message, aim to appeal to the full array of senses if you want to get through to people. It is one thing to get information “out” but entirely different to get “through.” No-one feels inspired or motivated to change by being “talked at,” we prefer a two-way interaction, and that is what a story can bring.

Storytelling – a skill worth learning?

The person with the title leader is not necessarily the one who naturally inspires others to follow. As leaders, we have to be able to demonstrate our values, our integrity, and our purpose. It is not enough to have a mission statement framed on the desk or a set of company values printed on the stationery.
Are you ready to learn to become a better storyteller?
Leaders who embrace storytelling as a strategic tool can share “values in action” stories, translate lessons learned to pass on to others, express the struggles fought and won, and tell stories of success. A real and relatable story will break down barriers and demonstrate the essence of your leadership style and intention.

People want genuine heartfelt leaders, who are willing to share their core, what makes them tick, and the stories they can bring to the table to provide meaning to their actions.

Leaders who are exceptional storytellers are entertaining, engaging and memorable. Their listeners can recall and repeat their stories long past the event. Why? Becuase they know how to create a “sticky” story, and have learned not only to put together a story plot but to deliver a story while capturing the imagination of the audience.

According to Annette Simmons author of The Story Factor, “The power of even a simple story to affirm someone’s connection to your organization’s people, values, and vision, can mean the difference between mere competence and fully realized ownership. Simply put your stories help your people feel alive”.

Where do people go wrong when storytelling in business?

“I’m going to start by telling you a story….” This is a sure way to ruin the spontaneity and curiosity that surrounds any great story.  Yet so many people begin like this. There is a better way!
Telegraphing is a term commonly used in sports, particularly in boxing.
According to Wikipedia, “Telegraphing is to intentionally alert an opponent to one’s immediate situation or intentions.”The boxer may move his shoulder and body in a particular way before throwing a punch and this movement can be read by the opponent.
The skill is in being able to hide telegraphing so that you don’t give your intention away.
If you want to create a memorable and sticky story there are a few golden rules to create a memorable story without giving too much away or “telegraphing,” and to keep people curious to know more right to the very end.

 5 Secrets to Memorable Business Storytelling

1. Avoid Telegraphing when storytelling

It’s not necessary, to begin with, “I’m going to tell you a story” or another one I hear is “May I start by telling you a story?”.  The best thing to do is jump right in and start your story. There is no need to ask permission or to “telegraph” what is ahead.

You can launch into your story with a short preamble line that sets the context. For example “I remember a time, back in the 70’s growing up..” or “As the sun was rising, I was walking along the beach this morning”.  A good story that is relevant to your topic can be spontaneously woven into your material with a seamless transition between the content and your story.

2. Ensure every story has a plot

Every story needs a plot, otherwise, it’s not a story. People often think they are storytelling when all they are doing is sharing a short anecdote or a case study. A story has to have a plot.  There is a lot of in depth information and theories on the structure and shape of stories. The most well-known is the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell. There are 12 steps in the Hero’s Journey. If you are interested in storytelling, The Hero with a Thousand Faces is an in-depth read. For the average storyteller or someone new to this form of narrative, it is quite complex.  I have created a simple framework to use when plotting your story. It’s called the 5C’s of Compelling Storytelling™.  The stages of the story plot are as follows Context, Challenge, Choice, Change, Carryout. For the average storyteller, or someone new to this form of narrative, the Hero’s Journey can be too complex.

I have created a simple framework to use when plotting your story, called the 5C’s of Compelling Storytelling™.

The stages of the story plot are as follows:

  • Context
  • Challenge
  • Choice
  • Change
  • Carryout

 

3. Create characters to bring your story to life

Your story needs characters. Often when people tell a story they talk about other people in an impersonal way. My husband, the boss, my dog. Take your character  a step further and develop them. To help our audience to feel drawn into our story, they need to be able to relate to our characters, either by seeing themselves as that character, or someone they know. Experiment by giving your characters the personality and character traits that help others experience them more fully.

Your story needs characters. Often when people tell a story, they talk about other people in an impersonal way. “My husband, the boss, my dog.” Take your character a step further and develop them. To help our audience to feel drawn into our story, they need to be able to relate to our characters, either by seeing themselves as that character, or someone they know. Experiment by giving your characters the personality and traits that help others experience them more fully.

Name your characters. Tell your audience a few key things about them. For example, if my grandmother is part of my story, I would say, “my Nana Doris is 89, despite her bird-like arthritic frame, she still loves to play Cockney sing-along tunes on the piano; she smells of mothballs, mixed with 711 perfume”.

By describing some of my grandmother’s characteristics, I’m able to paint a picture of her in your mind.

4. Use dialogue in your storytelling

Rather than retell or regurgitate your story, bring your story to life with dialogue. Instead of saying, there is a lady who gets on the bus every day and tells people how many days there are until Christmas (this is a true story!). If I were retelling this story, to make this scene come to life, I may say something like, “every morning, this larger than life, middle-aged woman would climb aboard the bus. With a great big smile she would buy her ticket, then announce to the whole bus in a rather loud voice, ‘today is Wednesday, there are 203 days until Christmas’, then she sat down and didn’t say another word”.

Instead of telling you what she said, I would become that character for that line of dialogue. Try out voices and accents to take on any characteristics of that person. This adds another dimension to your story.

5. What life lessons does your business storytelling offer to others?

The most important part of your story is the lessons you learned that you could share with others. I believe that storytelling is a great way to share your life wisdom. It’s not about saying, ‘Hey, look at me and where I am now”. Any good story has its’ share of challenge and struggles.

People don’t want to know how successful you are; they want to know what challenges you over overcame along your journey to get where you are today.

Are you prepared to share your challenges warts ‘n all? We have all made mistakes, there may be times when we wish we had done something differently or we messed up.  This is what makes up the rich tapestry of life and becomes parts of your story.

Here is a free e-booklet called The 7 Secrets to Spectacular Storytelling

Lisa EvansSpeaking Savvy Find a Story in Five Journal
If you are new to business storytelling and want some tips on how to start,  the first step I recommend is to create a story journal. My Find A Story in 5™ storytelling journal will take you through some simple, guided questions so that you can capture your experiences and turn the best of those into stories. You can purchase the e-version of the journal here, or if you prefer a hard copy with postage anywhere click here.
You can read more here about how you can sort and store your story bank
If you’d like to chat about how I can help you create the right story for your business I’d like to hear from you

 

 

Join The Story Tribe

For anyone living in Perth, if you would like to find out more about storytelling workshops and live storytelling community events, visit Stories From The Heart and join the story tribe.

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Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Keynote Speaker and TEDx Speaker Coach. Based in Perth, Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and compelling business stories.

One day Perth Public Speaking and Storytelling for Leaders Workshop – next one 1 1 October find out more here

Storytelling for Changemakers half day workshop – next one 7 October find out more here

Competitive Public Speaking what I have learned

Lisa Evans Speaking Savvy Public Speaking Competitions

Competitive Public Speaking in Toastmasters

That’s a lot of trophies! There are more in boxes. You may be thinking, so what! or you may be thinking – good on her for having a go.  I’ve observed that for some people who compete in Toastmasters contests, it can become “all about the trophy”.

I recently competed in two categories in the Toastmasters District Final, Humorous and  International Contests. It is my fourth year competing and each year I have progressed to the state final level.  This time, I didn’t go home with a trophy. But I did go home knowing that I reached out and made a difference to many in the audience with my message

There can only be one winner in any contest.  Judging is a tough job! At the District level, all of the finalists deserve to be there. It is always a very high standard and this year was no exception.

I have participated in plenty of speaking competitions and have watched countless more.

I have also had the delight to be in the audience for two of the World Championships of Public Speaking live, in Las Vegas when Mohammed Qahtani won in 2015, and Kuala Lumpur in 2014 when Dananjaya Hettiarachchi became the winner.

At high-level contests, all entrants are worthy of being on the stage. At District level, the contestants have already won three previous levels. It often it comes down to tiny differences in style and message.

High level speech contests are very much like a performance, the speeches have been practised, re-worked and practiced more. The best speakers are able to make their speech look so natural, like it is the first time they have done it.

Competitive speaking requires a commitment to writing your material, getting feedback, practice, and re-writing.

For every trophy I have won, I have lost other competitions. Although I don’t see it as losing anymore, it just means that on that particular day I don’t take home a trophy.

I believe that every time I step onto the stage in a speaking competition – I am a winner.

It takes courage, it takes practice and you have to be prepared to lose – a lot!

In the past, I have been ecstatic to win and I have felt discouraged to lose. That was before I changed my mindset. These days, the trophy is no more than a “shiny object”. These days I don’t enter to win.

What matters most to me is being able to reach out and make a connection with an audience. If I can make a difference to at least one other person in the audience with my message, then I am a winner.

If I can inspire another Toastmaster to step up and enter the contest, I am a winner. If I can show people that their stories are precious, powerful and worth sharing, I am a winner. If I can encourage one non-member of Toastmasters to join the organisation, I am a winner.

It’s not about the trophy

No trophy can ever replace the feeling of genuinely reaching out and touching another person in a heartfelt way. The power of storytelling is when one human connects with another human. This is the reason why I compete. I can honestly say it is not about the trophy.

As I enter any competition, I remember one of my favourite quotes about speaking, from one of my mentors and the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking – Craig Valentine,

May I forget myself, remember my speech, and touch my audience

In Perth, Western Australia, we are part of District 17 Toastmasters, our annual convention is held at the end of  May. There are four categories of contests  – Humorous, Table Topics, Evaluation and International.

There are 6 levels in the World Championship of Public Speaking. The first level is Club level, the winner progresses to Area Level, Division Level, then District level.

One winner from each District around the world goes on to compete in the Semi-finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking, which is held at the Annual Convention of Toastmasters International. This year it will be in Vancouver in August. Ten contestants compete in the final round for the prestigious title of World Championship of Public Speaking.

If you would like to find out more about Toastmasters International I encourage you to visit a club near you. Toastmasters has changed my life. I have made lifelong friends, some of them are like family to me.

Toastmasters is ideal for those seeking basic training in public speaking, all levels of speaking ability are welcome. The Toastmasters program will give you the essential skills in learning to speak with confidence.

If you are a Toastmaster who is currently competing or considering doing so, remember this; every time you step up and share a speech, you are a winner. You are learning and growing and if you are hopefully making a difference in the lives of others. That is what matters most.

All the very best to my Toastmasters friends and speakers from around the world who are on their way to compete in the World Championship of Public Speaking.

I am very grateful to my fellow Toastmasters who offer me support and encouragement. Most of all I am so thankful to my friend Lizze who is has been at my side for almost every competition I have ever been in and always has the right words of encouragement to keep me focussed.

I had the privilege of representing Competitive Speakers Perth Toastmasters  this year. Our club is inspired by Ryan Avery 2012 World Champion of Public Speaking – one of my Toastmasters speaking highlights is getting to perform my speech Rainbow of Life with Ryan and Chelsea Avery in the audience.

Thank you to my fellow club members and a special thank you to Martin O’Connor who is a constant source of positive encouragement to me. Martin recently wrote a blog sharing insights from D17 competitors, you can read here

#publicspeakingcoach #whatsyourstory #yourstoryisworthsharing #storiesfromtheheart #TheStoryMidwife

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Lisa Evans, MBA is the Director of Speaking Savvy and Founder of Stories From The Heart,  a Professional Speaker and Public Speaking and Storytelling Coach, TEDx Speaker Coach and Community Ambassador/Speaker for RUOK? based in Perth Australia.

 

How to create and deliver an Ignite style talk

Spectacular Storytelling Ignite style The Story Midwife

How to make sure your Public Speaking is concise and compelling

There are many different styles and formats in Public Speaking. The fast paced Lightning Talks are a lot of fun. I recently gave an Ignite style talk and I want to offer some tips on how to create one.

My mantra ever since I started Public Speaking has been

Speak at every opportunity, because every time you speak it is an opportunity to make a difference.

This week I gave a Lightning Talk at the ACS WA hosted by Microsoft in Perth. The organizers of the event were Michelle Sandford and Ming Johanson 

What’s an Ignite style talk?

Since then, quite a few have asked me what is an Ignite-style or Lightning talk.  I thought I’d share my experience of putting together the talk and the five-minute You Tube video of my talk.

A Lightning Talk is a short presentation lasting only a few minutes, often given at a conference or similar forum. A single session can have multiple speakers. It is fast, fun and a great way to entertain while educating.

There are different formats of the lightning talk, including PechaKucha and Ignite. Each has a specific number of slides that automatically advanced at fixed intervals.

The hosts of the ACS WA event chose the Ignite style which is a five-minute presentation, with 20 slides in the deck and each slide auto-advancing every 15 seconds.

I decided to say yes to the opportunity to present in this format.

It’s not about the slides

I rarely use slides in my presentations as I like tell stories. So when I do use slides (when I’m training for example), I ensure my slides support and enhance my message, rather than distract from it. The latter is a common mistake and pet peeve I see with most Powerpoint presentations.

Chose images that are going to help get your message across. Aim for no, or very few words. A picture says a thousand words right? Let your picture do some of the talking.

I believe the focus of the audience should be on the speaker, and the slides are there for the benefit of the audience. When a speaker gives 100% attention to the audience, you can connect and engage fully.

The approach I took in creating and delivering my Lightning Talk was to “create, practice, set and forget”.  I didn’t want the slides to steal the show

Pick one main idea to share

My passion is storytelling. I teach business storytelling and presentation skills and have plenty of content on the topic, as well as a lifetime of stories. The challenge was to pick one thing. As the audience was predominantly those new to Public Speaking, I wanted them to leave with some simple tips on why storytelling is a valuable tool and how to structure a story.

I decided to share my 5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™

 

 

In preparing for the talk, my challenge was to ensure that the timing of the words synchronized with the auto-advancing slides so that;

a) the audience were able to follow along, b) the flow was seamless and c) because that is how to play the game!

Here are 10 tips on how t0 put together an Ignite style talk

It took me around 2 hours in total to select content, set up the slides and rehearse the talk.

  1. Set up your slide deck with 20 slides and set the timings to fade and advance at 15-second intervals (do this for the first slide then click “select all”).
  2. Chose images that are going to help get your message across. A picture says a thousand words right? Let your pictures do some of the talking.
  3.  Write a few lines about each slide – brevity is key here, 15 seconds is not long.
  4. Ensure the talk has a logical flow including an introduction to you and your topic and a call to action.
  5. Practice your timings with the slides running (rehearse mode worked well for this).
  6. If your timings are not aligned to the slides, adjust the number of words to match as near as possible.
  7. Avoid bullet points on your slides,  large pictures with very few words works best. That way it is not as obvious if the slides and your words go a bit out of sync during delivery.
  8. Practice a few times and get comfortable with your material. Aim to present without notes and away from the lectern, (it is not a requirement but part of being a confident, engaging presenter).
  9. When you are ready to deliver your talk “set and forget”.
  10. Once the slides start rolling, that’s it!  Focus on your audience don’t worry what is going on in the background avoid turning back to look at your slides (you may have a comfort screen in front of you, but in my case, there wasn’t one).

Relax and have fun

I really enjoyed the experience,  it is fast, fun and a good way to practice creating a speech that is concise and captivating in a short time frame

I loved the format of the evening because this style of presenting is fast and fun and allows multiple speakers to be part of the program. At the event I was part of, there were 11 speakers.

To make the night even more fun. The hosts added some Roulette slide decks to the mix,  volunteers enthusiastically made up a story on the spot, based on the image that flashed before them.  They did a fabulous job at coming up with a talk that aligned with the theme of the slides.

If you want to get better at Public Speaking, say yes to every opportunity.

The Ignite-style talk will force you to be concise and organized in your approach. With a little practice, you will then be ready to share one idea in a short time with the added value of pictures to help get your message across.

Would you like more storytelling tips? Download my 7 Secrets to Spectacular Storytelling 

Want to start Story Journalling? get your copy of my Find a Story in Five 32 page storytelling journal

Interested in workshop Storytelling for Changemakers next workshop 1 July only 3 places left

Want to come along and be captivated by an evening of Live Storytelling.  Stories From The Heart is a wonderful event with all profits going to charity. 8 – 14 storytellers will step up on stage and share a personal story, no notes, no slides, pure heartfelt storytelling.

Next Stories From The Heart event 23 July Early Bird tickets selling fast

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Lisa Evans The Story Midwife

 

I’m a Professional Speaker and Public Speaking and Storytelling Coach based in Perth Australia (but we can chat anywhere with the wonderful tool of Skype).

Available for keynote speaking, breakout sessions, workshops, training, and coaching. If you would like to chat about how I can serve you at your next conference contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au

I spent 20+years answering my calling as a Midwife.  In that role, I had the privilege to guide, support and coach others, to help bring new life into the world.

A life-changing sudden illness led me to leave my calling and find my true purpose. Six years ago, I began my speaking and storytelling journey. Discovering my voice and sharing a message and empowering others to speak up, step up and share their stories. I continue to bring new life into the world, guiding, supporting and coaching and helping bring new life into the world in the form of stories as The Story Midwife.

If you would like help to create your signature story,  or you want to learn the art of storytelling to make and impact in your business presentations then let’s chat to see if we are a fit.

Heal Your Heart At Stories From The Heart

Michele Woods, accomplished writer, and fledgling stand-up comic writes a beautiful piece about Stories From The Heart                           

“You can warm your hands at a poem” is a quote from the writer Jeanette Winterson. To those words, I’d like to add, “you can heal your heart at a story”.

For that is what I experienced at the Stories From The Heart evening hosted by Director of Speaking Savvy, Lisa Evans, upstairs at the Brisbane Hotel on March 19. Tickets on sale for the next event on 11 May

But this was no evening to spruik one’s wares or egos – the rules clearly stated that there would be no self-promotion or soap boxes – just honest to goodness stories from the heart covering the theme of Transformation which had been set by World Storytelling Day.

It was the first year anniversary since the launch of Stories From The Heart

It was the first year anniversary of Stories From The Heart, so there was an extra frisson of excitement in the room.

All monies raised from the night went to support Heart Kids WA, which supports families of kids born with congenital heart conditions.

At the appointed hour Lisa, immaculately dressed in red from top to toe, jumped up on stage and opened the evening with the revelation that she was born with a heart defect, has had five heart surgeries and that she went on to train as a midwife. Bam!

Instinctively from that point on I knew the evening was in good hands as we were looking at a combo of gumption meets wide-eyed life experience on a very deep heart level.

And so it was.

Every story of Transformation was so different

Looking back now, it’s like the movie “Sophie’s Choice” trying to single out one “best” story from the evening.

And that would be wrong, as each tale had an organic message for everyone. Every tale of Transformation was so different as well.

I am sure each audience member heard what they needed to hear, depending on where they are at in their lives.

Again and again, I was brought back to the thought of how different yet utterly similar we all are. All having the same basic needs of love, acceptance, and health no matter where in the world, or its pecking order, we find ourselves.

Here are some of the story snippets

“It’s All My Parent’s Fault” by Leesa Hart had me presuming we were all in for a shame and blame story. How wrong I was.

Leesa, incredibly a first-time storyteller, told us all how she used to hate gardening because “if her parents enjoyed it, it must be bad!”

She went on to say that as a young adult she would only garden under sufferance, just before a rental inspection.

But that all changed when she looked at her one-year-old daughter’s “raw and barren” grave. Her Mum suggested she plant a garden to soften it and make it a pleasant place to visit.

Her parents worked along side her as they improved the soil and slowly the grave became a place of beauty, peace, and connection.

The garden helped Leesa through the seasons of her grief and gave her a real sense of hope and an interest in the future. She now helps others grow their gardens. And for all this “she blames her parents!”

 

Lynette Delane’s story “Around the Corner” told of an ordinary 45-degree day in the Wheatbelt, driving to a neighbour’s birthday party 100 kilometres away. Taking the gravel road short cut, fishtailing, then flashbacking, thinking that this was the end

Incredibly she survived the wreckage without a scratch.

Lynette dusted herself off, took stock of her provisions and began the 50k walk to her sister’s, mercifully under the shade of the golf umbrella gift she had bought for her neighbour.

Luckily a Ute happened by when she had barely begun the journey.

Lynette told us to “expect the best, prepare for the worst and always buy practical gifts because you never know what lies around the corner!”

Stories From The Heart Speaking Savvy Cindy Kennedy

Cindy Kennedy

I found Cindy Kennedy’s story “A Stack of Love” profoundly moving and inspirational at the same time.

She told us of her false sense of security when her gynae told her she had the womb of a 26 year old despite being 40.

He went so far as to put her womb scan up on his Wall of Fame!

So imagine Cindy’s heartbreak and disbelief when she suffered not one, but three miscarriages in a row.

It was at this point Cindy explained that when life doesn’t go according to plan, often we try and find meaning or a way through.

Who has not done this? Repeatedly?!

And here’s the life-changing thing she went on to say:

“But healing comes from integration, not interpretation.We need to stack our losses up, one on top of each other, in order to see the way forward.”

With that wisdom firmly in her mind, Cindy got pregnant again at 42, announced her birth plan, would not take no for an answer, and went on to deliver her very own stack of love one very memorable Christmas morning!

Later on in the evening, there were hilarious stories of people marrying in their 70s told by Nick Mortimer, a virtually mute teenage date turning out to be David Beckham by Michelle Sandford, and Martin O’Connor reminded to always do your very best effort in karaoke even if you don’t understand the language as you may just be performing for the Chief of Vietnamese Police!

Stories From The Heart Speaking Savvy Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis

 

We learned the virtue of facing fear and finding courage from Jenny Brockis as she said yes to a day’s heli-skiing (or should that be Hell-skiing?!) with her beloved, despite grave reservations about her limited ability.

She now probably holds the world record for fastest 300 metre vertical descent!

 

We heard of the transformation of miscommunication and the importance of saying what you mean and meaning what you say and, never ever presuming anything, from Amanda Lambros.

I also realised that so often we only hear what we want to hear in life, no matter what anybody else is really saying!

Never giving up also emerged as a theme with Angie Paskevicius describing a fascinating moment mid way through a marathon when she just decided to win, telling herself “I am going to win this race. I can do it, and I will.”

And she did, telling us what that decision literally felt like in her body, as reserves of energy she did not know she had, pulsed through, her propelling her past her opponents.

Another courageous first-time storyteller, Vida Carlino’s lifelong habit of always, always showing up started early on in her life and paid huge dividends in the happy-ever-after department.

When she was 17 she had hitchhiked across Australia from Perth to rural Victoria with virtually no money. The plan was for her boyfriend to follow her later and to meet up at the vineyard she was working at. However, she got sacked and had to live away from the property.

Not a problem nowadays, but back in 1977 in the days before mobiles and email…

Vida hitchhiked out to the remote property every day for weeks to see if Dom had shown up so they could be re-united and continue their travel adventures together. On the very last day, when she was all out of money and full of despair she went out to the vineyard one last time and just as she was leaving she heard her name being called by the man who is still by her side 40 years later…

Another storyteller, Ross Addison, faced a deadly Leukaemia diagnosis head on and also vowed to never give up.

Instead of asking “why me?” he asked himself the more useful question, “why can’t I be one of the ones to get through this?”

He received a bone marrow transplant and is now 16 years post-diagnosis and enjoying life as a published author.

We also heard about the transformational powers of persistence, love, and spirit as well as choosing to be a fully present father despite tumultuous beginnings.

We were reminded again and again that we are the heroes of our own lives and to look within for our own innate wisdom.

And to listen to it when we hear it.

Stories Form The Heart Speaking Savvy DI Downie

Di Downie

Di Downie told the very powerful story of her own awakening and how she “followed the breadcrumbs back into her own life” as she revived the ancient craft of weaving sheafs of corn into dolls, which were traditionally used to appease the Gods and ensure a bountiful harvest.

She had momentarily lost her way, tending to two children under five, and despaired of being a good enough role model for them.

However, doll-by-doll, Di’s hobby slowly became known to friends and neighbours resulting in a book, exhibiting at fairs and an income.

Di asked, “what are the breadcrumbs in your fairy tale?

And when you find them, are you willing to follow them?

 

I think all of us left the venue that night marvelling at the depth of feeling and knowledge we had shared.

It truly had been a heart-warming night of storytelling.

The next Stories From The Heart event is on 11 May 5:30 – 7:30 pm at Hive Co-Working. Tickets are $20 and include refreshments. All ticket sales donated to Red Nose. Book early as events sellout .

Michele Woods is a freelance writer and fledgling stand-up comic.

She does not have a website or a blog or Twitter or Instagram, but she does spend a lot of time giving it serious consideration.

Michele does have a Facebook page, which she glances at a couple of times a month.  She can be found haunting the open mics of Perth and Fremantle.   Her email is:   cheleerin@aol.com

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Lisa Evans, Director of Speaking Savvy and Founder of Stories From The Heart, created the event to inspire others to step up and share their stories at the same time as making a positive change in the community through supporting local and international charities, In the year since the event started, 76 people have shared a story on stage and over $5000 has been raised for charity.

If you would like help to create your signature story,  host or sponsor a live storytelling event or you want to learn the art of storytelling to make and impact in your business presentations then let’s chat to see if we are a fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Spectacular Storytelling Tips to Spice up your Speaking

Are you a master at storytelling?

If you would like to be more engaging, get more bookings and be more relatable as a speaker, then mastering the art of storytelling is a great way to stand out from the crowd. In this article, I will share with you 8 Spectacular Storytelling Tips to Spice up your Speaking.

Lisa Evans Speaking Savvy Storytelling

People love a good story, one that draws them in. There are speakers and trainers who are ordinary storytellers. Then there are those who are master storytellers.If you do one thing for your speaking success this year -improve your storytelling.

 

What is your signature story? This is the story you are known for, it is the very essence of you, what you stand for and what you have to offer. No one else has your story.

No one else has your story.

Then there are the everyday stories that you can use to teach, inspire and create change in others. There is an endless supply of material that you can use for this purpose (if you’d like a story mining exercise, contact me and I’ll send you a simple one that I use).

  A good storyteller transforms an ordinary tale into an adventure, and creates an experience for the audience to relish and enjoy.

But wait…I’m not a speaker, I’m a leader.

If you are a leader you are a speaker.

As a leader, entrepreneur, start-up business or sales expert – your ability to tell compelling stories gives you a competitive edge – the world doesn’t need any more dull presenters, agree?

If you are comfortable presenting with a fat slide deck or you tend to default to reading out loud – I encourage you to step into the magical world of storytelling. You will connect in a way that a PowerPoint does not, you will inspire in a way that leaves bullet points running for cover, and you become known for your authentic and engaging style.

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken” – Oscar Wilde.

No one else has your story.

Only you can tell your stories the way you can. No one else has your story. It is what makes you unique.

Only you can tell your stories the way you can. No one else has your story.
If you are not yet harnessing the power of storytelling – or you know you should, but you are not quite sure how to get started – then now is the time to jump in. Maybe you are already telling stories (case studies, scenarios, and anecdotes are NOT stories), but perhaps your stories are getting a little tired.

A compelling storyteller can turn an ordinary tale into an adventure. After all, we all love to find out how the hero triumphs in the end. Our greatest lessons come from our everyday experiences. An effective storyteller has the ability to turn an ordinary tale into an adventure. After all, we all love to find out how the hero triumphs in the end, and our greatest lessons come from our everyday experiences.

You don’t have to have rags to riches story to draw people in – but you do need to have a story that has some key elements.

“I believe the best stories are short, simple stories told exceptionally well.”

 

Start collecting your stories today. If you’d like to start capturing your stories with a set of simple guided questions then my Find a Story in Five  journal may be great for you. It’s available to purchase online and as a bonus, I will give you a free coaching session to help you refine one of your stories.

You will have so many stories that it is best to capture and tag your stories in an app or notebook,  here is how I sort and store my stories into a story bank.

Don’t give a talk – create an experience.

The way you craft and share your story is key.  An experienced storyteller can perform a story with their whole body, using voice and movement that compliments the story. In addition, carefully crafted words, excellent pace, and rhetorical devices, coupled with character development, dialogue and a touch of humour to add light and shade.  I know some of you are thinking – that is not my style, or I cannot do that!  You can with a little practice and some tools. If you truly want to captivate an audience with a story – you will not be able to maximise the experience for your audience stuck behind a lectern.

If you would like some help to create your storytelling style, or craft your signature story then let’s chat

There is a massive difference between “giving a talk” and “providing an experience,” ordinary presenters give talks; master communicators create an experience for their audience.

I know what audience I’d rather be part of!

As a storyteller, you can create suspense, action, and impact by using some tried and tested storytelling techniques.

Ready to get started? The first step is to ditch the PowerPoint (or even slashing the deck in half if you are not ready to part ways with it yet).

Here are 8 tips to spectacular storytelling.

#1 The audience are the centre of your story.

Your story is not about you. For many beginning storytellers, this is a common mistake. Of course, it is your story, and only you can tell it, but it has to be about the audience.  My measure of storytelling success is not when someone comes up to me after I share a story and talks to me about my story, it is when they want to share one of their stories with me. I know I have done a good job if I have provoked a story in another individual through a shared emotional experience. Here is an example in this  Alice in Wonderland story .

If you think that you are the shining knight or princess in your story – I hate to drop a rain cloud on that thought – but you will not reach an audience if all you want to share with them is how heroic you are.

#2 A story is an experience for your audience.

Instead of telling your story verbatim, create an experience for your audience. Use metaphors and rich sensory language, even a prop or a picture so that your audience can conjure up images, thoughts, and emotions. Your audience is eager to experience first-hand what happens in your story and wants to feel part of it, to be moved by it.  They want to imagine themselves right there alongside you; they want to feel the emotion that you felt, see what you saw, hear what you heard. Remember you need to take your audience on a journey and have them alongside you all the way.

#3 A story has a structure.

At the fundamental level, a story has a beginning middle and an end.  There is a whole lot more that happens in between, but often people are not that interested in hearing it all if the start lacks curiosity. A story needs to get off the starting blocks to a flying start so that the audience is captivated early on.  Just like any good movie, the beginning of your story must be concise and compelling – no need to set the scene in elaborate detail (cut the fluff). Aim to set the scene by quickly addressing the following. Who, where, when, what.  It is 4 am, .a secret meeting at the airport, and I receive a text ….. What happens next? Is what you want your audience to be thinking.

#4 A good story has a call to action.

The best storytellers can do so much more than “tell” a story, they provide the audience with something to take away. A transformation takes place, a shared energy, and empathy between the storyteller and the story listener. When you inspire your audience to take some action, you include them in your story, and you are leaving them with a purpose – to go on a mission and create some change. It is a very different style compared with presenters who “give a talk.” Storytellers create a memorable experience.

 

“Storytellers create a memorable experience”.

 

#5 Tell a story with your whole body.

As the storyteller, you lay out each scene, and you keep the audience on their toes by showcasing the various elements that make up the story.  You can do this effectively by using different techniques to enhance the experience for the audience. Consider timing and pacing, rhythm and the musicality in your voice, the use of your body to convey emotion and character and using dialogue to represent different characters or story archetypes. With practice, this can be seamless. Some of these techniques are advanced. For beginners, I suggest you get comfortable with each of these elements (with practice the rest will come naturally).

#6 Above all a story needs to be told with passion.

#6 Above all tell you story with passion
Something simple sets apart regular presenters from speakers who have mastered the art of storytelling, and that is passion. The audience will resonate with the emotion that is at the heart of your story, more than the message itself when you deliver the message with passion. Keep the passion prevalent in your presentation, and your story will have an impact.
If Content is king, then delivery is Queen. Work on both to be the best storyteller you can be. Remember tip #1.

“If Content is king, then delivery is Queen. Work on both to be the best storyteller you can be”.

 

#7 Anyone can tell a story, sharing a spectacular story takes practice.

We have been telling stories since the beginning of time. There are stories everywhere. But not everyone can tell a good story well, it takes practice. A storyteller may cover all the basics and may teach you something you don’t already know. Perhaps you will leave feeling informed, but will you leave feeling inspired? There’s nothing wrong with the former, but if you want to tell spectacular stories then you need to go the extra mile. A spectacular storyteller will take the time to craft a story that impacts on the audience on an emotional level (to lift and motivate, not leave the audience feeling low and sorry for the teller). A great storyteller will build characters, weave subplots and create suspense. Most importantly a story well-told will leave the audience feeling good.

#8 A storyteller makes a connection with an audience.

A story is not a talk. When you share a story you are leading your listeners to an experience. You are building a place where they can feel the emotion, touch, hear and see. A story is very much a performance.  A story can add meaning and transform a listener’s experience of reality. By creating an emotional connection – I don’t mean crying on stage. It can be a delicate balance between sharing a personal story and bare your all to others. Consider whether your story is ready for telling.  Stories are precious, we need to take care of them and have them take care of us.  Above all, a great story is about creating a connection.

We all have stories worth sharing. Learn to share the experience of your story.

I encourage speakers, leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and business owners to practice your storytelling skills, tell your story with passion and give your audience an experience they won’t forget.

If you are in Perth and you’d like to learn to tell better stories, I run regular workshops and events, find out more here.

The world deserves to hear your stories – what are you waiting for?

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I’m a Professional Speaker and Public Speaking and Storytelling Coach based in Perth Australia (but can virtually coach you anywhere via Skype).

Available for keynote speaking, breakout sessions, workshops, training, and coaching. If you would like to chat about how I can serve you at your next conference contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or +61 438 902042

I spent 20+years answering my calling as a Midwife.  In that role, I had the privilege to guide, support and coach others, to help bring new life into the world.

A life-changing illness led me to leave my calling and find my true purpose. Seven years ago, I began my speaking and storytelling journey. Discovering my voice and sharing a message and empowering others to speak up, step up and share their stories. I continue to bring new life into the world, guiding, supporting and coaching and helping bring new life into the world in the form of stories as The Story Midwife.

If you would like help to create your signature story,  or you want to learn the art of storytelling to make and impact in your business presentations then let’s chat to see if we are a fit.

 

 

Vulnerability in Public Speaking. Be Real Be Present Be You

It Takes Courage

Making an authentic connection with your audience takes courage. If you want to create an impact it requires being yourself.

lisa-evans-speaking-savvymask

For some that’s hard. It’s a lot easier when public speaking, to talk about the latest company figures or systems. Peeling back the onion layers of your unique self can be hard, and some may say what’s the point?

Leave Your Ego At The Door

A speaker who is able to connect and inspire an audience; leaves their own ego at the door and shares a message as if offering a gift to the audience. Think about choosing a gift for someone. You ponder over what they may like, purchase, then wrap the gift carefully to give it an extra special presentation. You want the recipient to enjoy the gift, it gives you pleasure to see the look on their face when you know they have received the perfect gifLisa Evans Speaking Savvy Gift of Speakingt.

Think of your speech as a gift that you want your audience to enjoy and remember.

Your speech is never about you. There is no quicker way to lose an audience than by trying to push something onto them, or constantly talk about yourself.  

By focussing on what your audience needs, you will ensure that you are delivering an audience-centric message with your audience planted firmly in the heart of the message. Carefully crafted stories can help you win the hearts and minds of your audience.   When the audience is able to see themselves in your story then your message will stick. 

Stories Are At The Heart of Successful Presentations

It takes courage to step up and be yourself. It’s so much easier to hide behind data, charts, handouts and slides, but that’s not how to create a compelling and lasting connection. Learn to captivate your audience with stories. 

Stories are at the heart of the most successful presentations. Real, relevant and relatable stories, shared in a way that enables the audience to feel that they are there alongside you in the story.  Find A Story In Five is a guided journal that will help you capture your everyday events into powerful stories

Don’t Be Perfect, Be Prepared, Be Present

Nailing a presentation is not about being perfect, it’s about being prepared and present in the moment.  It’s not how skilled you are in rhetorical techniques or vocabulary, but rather speaking with words and emotion from your heart to resonate with others.

When you stop trying to present a technically competent speech and focus on connecting at a human level, you will begin to enjoy speaking in public so much more.

Be Vulnerable When You Speak

So what does being vulnerable mean when it comes to speaking in public?  It’s not over-sharing or giving too much information. It’s not sharing a story, for the sake of sharing a story.

Being vulnerable is about being real, relevant, and remarkable, in your rawness and uniqueness. Being the best version of yourself, complete with all the flaws and imperfections, because guess what? Your audience is real and unique too, they may even have the same flaws and imperfections that you are trying so hard to cover up.

The Power Of Vulnerability

According to Brené Brown

“Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light”

Her research defines vulnerability as; uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

There is a sense of vulnerability in sharing our ideas with others. We don’t know how others will view our ideas, we run the risk of others shunning our ideas,  we may even receive ridicule rather than encouragement.

People may then put a wall up, to try to protect themselves against this ridicule and no longer venture into the world of emotional exposure for fear of it happening again.  They feel too uncomfortable with the prospect of rejection that they miss out on the opportunity for connection.

Yet in trying to protect ourselves from that awkward and uncomfortable feeling if others shun our ideas, we are holding back on really connecting with others.

Brené Brown believes that it takes true courage to be open and honest about our feelings. It allows for connection with others, whereas constantly trying to be perfect and hiding behind a seemingly strong and capable facade, can push people away.

You are unique and people are interested in hearing you and what you have to say with your authentic voice. Interested in Live Storytelling? Lets have a chat, I’m currently looking for storytellers for my events

Being vulnerable is not oversharing and baring all. Nor is it saying exactly what is on your mind or how you feel if that may upset others, It’s about genuinely sharing from a place of trust and respect.

In her TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability which has over 28 million views, Brené Brown challenges us all to think about or own shame and fears. She says, being vulnerable is about showing up and being heard and having the courage to know that you have something worth sharing.

You Have Stories Worth Sharing

If you really want to create an authentic connection with your audiences, you must be willing to be vulnerable, to open up, to share what makes you unique and what you have learned that others can benefit in hearing.

Tell your story with your whole heart. Aim to be an “all in” communicator. Use storytelling as a tool to take others on a journey and share your unique story with the world.  

If you focus on only improving one element of your speaking this year, aim to make it the power of connecting wholeheartedly.

You May Deliver A Less Than Perfect Presentation

There’s often the fear that you won’t live up to the expectations that you have set for yourself. You are probably your worst critic and you may beat yourself up for stuff that you would let go in others.

Don’t be hard on yourself. If you have the courage to stand up and share your message, then there will be times when you will deliver a less than perfect presentation. You may forget your words, you may look a bit awkward, but that’s ok. You are sharing your knowledge, your passion, and your experience. 

Give Yourself a Hug

Don’t waste time trying to conceal your flaws, it’s wasted energy. Practice your speaking to be the best version of yourself. Have fun, it’s ok to be nervous, it shows you are human and most people do feel nervous when speaking. There are ways to manage nervousness but don’t fight it.

Give yourself a hug for having the courage to stand up and share. If others see that you are nervous but you are giving it a go, then that in itself is inspiring.

Embrace the new found freedom of being a true, authentic version of yourself,  it is exhausting trying to be someone else. Be you.

What Life Lessons Are You Ready To Share?

Don’t aim for perfect aim for progress. Think about your life experiences, the wins the losses, the love and the hurt, the challenges and the celebrations. What is it that you have learned along your life’s journey? What would you do differently if you had the opportunity? What lessons are you ready to share? 

Be wholehearted. Be unashamedly you. Be real. Be present. You are meant to be you

If you are willing to share a story from your heart, trust that your story is worth sharing. There will be people who are inspired, motivated and encouraged by hearing your story. There will be others who don’t care much about what you say, and that’s OK too. For many, it is that feeling of, “hey, I’m not the only one who feels this way”, or perhaps “well, if she can do it then I can”.

Capture Your Stories

I have been a story listener, a story harvester, and a story teller for years now. One of the best ways to capture the stories from your life is to do a simple story journalling exercise each day. I have developed a tool to help you find, record and refine your stories. Find A Story in Five™  is available to buy online Start your journalling today

Join The Story Tribe

For anyone living in Perth, if you would like to find out more about storytelling workshops and live storytelling community events,  visit Stories From The Heart and join the story tribe.  

 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach. Based in Perth, Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and stories.

One day Perth Public Speaking and Storytelling for Leaders Workshop – next one 16 March find out more here