Classic TJ on Stories

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So you've narrowed your key messages down to just five, that's great. But we can't just tell people hear my five messages got to go after 30 seconds. It doesn't work like that. You've got to do everything you can in the time you have with your speech or your presentation to make those messages. Not only understood, but remember, let me tell you a little secret here. Now, I say it's a secret.

Every book on public speaking says this and yet nobody ever does it so it sells out. It's a basic concept that doesn't sink through. You need to have a story for every one of your message ones. The biggest difference between great speakers and awful ones and average ones is that great speakers have a story to flesh out. Every single message point they have. It's not a luxury.

It's not just open this speech. It's not the clothes not to be Funny, it's to illustrate the point. So the audience can remember it. Now, here's the other big fact of life ever. And I mean, every single client I have, who's awful, who's boring, who just does a data dump, or who's just average. They never use stories.

They just go in a straightforward way. Here's a fact. Here's a bullet point. Here's a number. It's, it's straightforward, factual stuff. And it's awful.

Nobody remembers it. And it's not interesting. Now, there's a lot of confusion about stories. People tell me all the time, I will teach I love stories. But I'm not a natural storyteller. Or I'm in finance, and I'm just giving the numbers or I'm giving a purely technical speak.

Let me disabuse you of those notions right now. There is no such thing as a financial speech or a technical speech or a PowerPoint speech. Those are all just concepts we have in our head when we're giving speeches. There's only two types of speeches in the entire world. You know what they are? That's right.

It's either good or it's bad from the standpoint of the audience, when you are in the audience. You're not thinking, wow, I share, I'm glad this person is giving me a formal presentation, or this sure is a good financial prison. Now, that's not what you're thinking of the only thing you're thinking of when you're in the audience is, this is good. It's interesting, it's useful, I'm gonna pay attention. Or this guy is awful. It's boring.

It's tedious. I look at the PowerPoint later. Meanwhile, let me check up on email from the office. That's the only thing going on in the minds of your audience. So great speakers adapt to the mindset of their audience. And that's what you've got to do.

So you've got to figure out what are the ideas you're trying to communicate and now How can you use every tool to make it come alive? And the number one tool you have at your disposal is a story. Now a story doesn't have to be funny. It doesn't have to be overly emotional. The only thing is story is as you recounting a real conversation you had with a real person about a real problem in a real place. What was said, what that person said to you what you said back how it was resolved, and how you felt about it.

That's it. That's all there is to it. All of us tell stories all the time. You start off on the way home and you fill up with gas and someone cuts you off and curses at you. You don't then go home until your spouse at 522 I left the office at 532. I pulled into a gas station at 533 there was a minor altercation and unpleasantries were exchanged at 544 I left.

I mean, that's kind of how most people give speeches. Boring, straightforward fact fact. You're going to say to your spouse can't believe what happened we today I was pulling into the Exxon. And this guy comes in honking, honking looking around. He's like, get out of my way, buddy. And he proceeded to take the gas pump and put it in as if he owned the book.

I mean, that's how human beings talk. Might not drive a car, but I think you get my point. All human beings tell stories all day long. Now, what's different about a speech is people tell themselves, oh, I'm now giving a formal presentation. Let me push away all the stories and just stick to the facts and be concise. Let me tell you right now, your goal and giving a speech is never and I mean never to be concise.

Your goal is to communicate. You can be concise, stand up, sit down after 30 seconds, nobody remembered anything you said. You accomplished absolutely nothing. But maybe you speak for 20 minutes, 30, maybe three hours if you're giving people good value if you're really helping them. If you're doing something to make their lives better, their jobs better, their bottom line better. They'll listen to you for a long time.

Now, I'm not saying just go on and on for three hours. But your focus should be on making your ideas remembered, and making sure you have useful ideas. Not simply being concise. That is a false goal that many, many speakers have. Stories sometimes take a long time. Maybe you tell a story in 30 seconds.

It's not overly complicated. But if you have a point that you want people to remember you're better off giving us To make it meaningful, one of the points I'm going to stress in our next lesson is really cut to practice on video. If you want to see for yourself where you are, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, and how to improve now I've been using video ever since I started 30 years ago and there was a time when it was difficult. You had to bring in some production crew and cameras were this big. These days. Everyone's surrounded by video cameras, you've got one in your cell phone likely iPads.

Webcams are everywhere. It's really, really cheap. Now I remember a time more than a decade ago, I was doing my very first training over in Eastern Europe. And I was in a former dictators palace and it was quite elaborate. I wasn't training a dictator I was training, a popularly elected Prime Minister of a small Eastern European country. But I was a little nervous.

It was my first time in that part of the world. Prime Minister has all of his guards his bodyguards with machine guns around, were ready to practice the Prime Minister's speech. And he said to me, TJ, do you mind if this first time we practice in my native line? He was fluent in English. So do you mind if we practice in my native language? Sure, no problem, Mr. Prime Minister.

So he stood up, gave his speech and he proceeded to do this. The other day, he basically read his speech. He asked me what I thought so well, let's watch the video together. So we watched the video. He then said, TJ, what did you think I said, I'll tell you what I think. But first, I want you to tell me exactly what you thought.

So now, I'll tell you, I'll tell you, I want to hear your opinion. First and I thought, wow, this guy was really boring. It was awful. And what do I do? I'm surrounded by armed guards. I'm in a whole nother place of the world.

I don't know what the situation is. Some of them look quite menacing. I tell him the truth. I thought, you know what, he's paying me a bunch of money to give them the truth. I'll tell him the truth. So I said, Mr. Prime Minister, with all due respect.

I don't know what you said, but you bore the hell out of me. He looked shocked. He looked at me. He looked at all of his arm guards. He'll back to the TV. And then he said, TJ, you're right.

He was boring as hell. It's awful. Here's what we got to do this speech through the way and we did what I had to do with most of my clients. We got a clean sheet of paper. We got a pen We started from scratch and we tried to boil it down to just five messages. And we did the speech again and we keep videotaping it until he could look at it and say, TJ now this is a guy I would want to listen to.

Okay, so what did I do there? All I did was tell a story. Was it funny? No. Was it overly dramatic? Not really.

But it was real. I mean, that actually happened to me. And all I'm trying to do is drive home the points that it is important to videotape your practice. Because you'll see things that you weren't aware of, you'll be more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. And it's really the only way to get a sense of how you're doing. So it's a simple story.

It only took a couple of minutes. But it had a character had the Prime Minister had a setting I mean, a dictators palace, isolated the in Eastern Europe, it had a problem. This guy was giving a really boring solution. It did have a solution, he had to look at it and figure out what he liked, didn't like and we redid it and had a little bit of emotion. It was a little bit nervous about a telling him that being in foreign circumstances, so it had the elements is that the greatest story ever told now? Is it going to win pulitzer prize?

No. But it does help people remember that message a little more effectively. And that's got to be your big problem that you've got to focus on. How do you get people to remember your ideas. As I mentioned earlier, the big problem most speakers have is not that they break out and flopsweat it's not that they freeze. It's not even that their PowerPoint stops or breaks that are bullbar breaks that does happen.

Number one problem most speakers have is they stand up, they give their presentation, their tie straight to their dresses, just straight hair the way they want it with whatever they have. And everything goes according to plan. But then if you walked around the audience, or the conference table afterwards, with $100 bill and put it in front of people, you can keep that money. All you have to do is tell me two ideas that speaker talked about. Guess what? You would never have to give away any money.

That's the real tragedy. of most speakers. Stories are the solution. When I asked audiences all over the world. What do they remember the most about great speakers. They remember two things, the passion and the stories and they're linked because when people are telling stories, that's when their passion comes out.

So A lot of people have the mistaken notion that or I'll fit a story and if there's time. And yet, there's never time because they have so many data points. A story is not a luxury. It is a fundamental building block of what it takes to communicate effectively. Now, just as I mentioning everything, in this video, this whole series of videos, there is a section in the books that I give you for the homework. At the very end of the whole course, that will tell you exactly every one of these elements in the story will give you even more examples of anything I'm talking about here.

There is a chapter in both of the books that I'm giving you. So don't worry about writing everything down now. But the fundamental thing is you've got to have a story. Examples are also good case studies are good. All of these things will help your audience remember that What's going to make your speech successful or not, it's not about having perfect eye contact and timbre of voice or lowering your voice, all these things people think matter. If you have interesting, important relevant messages and great stories that make it come alive, you'll be seen as a great speaker.

Even if your tie is crooked, or you have some arms and or people will forget all that if you have good compelling stories now, people ask me all the time, TJ, can I make up stories? Well, he could. But why would you want to? That's hard work. The beauty of the story is, you can see it. I mean, I can see that Prime Minister there still even though it's been more than a decade, the best stories aren't made up.

It's simply you recounting a real conversation you had with a real person you can see it that makes it not abstract. traction is your enemy as a speaker, not because the people you're talking to are stupid and don't understand abstraction. abstraction is a problem. Because without people seeing it, they don't remember it. Think of it this way, what's easier for you to remember if you've just met someone, their name on a business card or their face? For most of us, it's the face that's easy to remember not the name.

That's because you've actually visualized a face you see a face words on a business card. Those are just attraction. So here's your homework. You need to come up with a story for each one of the five message points you created in your earlier homework. And if you tell me, well teach, I don't really have a story for that. Guess what?

That means it's not an important point. Now let's say it's purely a financial presentation if profits are up 22% from last quarter, you could say, well, that's just a number. There's no story, there is a story. What is driving that growth? What's the one product? What's the one thing that happened to the economy?

What's the one element of publicity that drove that? Tell me about a conversation you had with your number one client, or your number one salesperson, talking about this new growth engine. There is a story for anything, unless you tell me that the only thing you do all day long is sit back and read the paper. And at five o'clock, you get an email from your boss saying good job, go home. All of us have stories to tell because we all have phone conversations. If nothing else, with a client, a customer colleague has got a problem, and you got to deal with it.

Those are the stories that will make your presentation come alive. So that's your homework. Right now. You don't have to write it out word for word, but you need a few words. to trigger this memory, and you think about how you're going to say it. So now you need to have an outline on a single sheet of paper, or a single computer screen.

Your five big bullet points, your five main ideas. And then you need two or three words that will trigger in your own memory a story for each one of your points. That's your homework. Go ahead and do it right now.

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