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Journey with a Journalist…hear her Storytelling Golden Nuggets!
Well did you miss me? Wow, if your summer was as busy as mine, you probably feel like you've been pulled in a hundred directions. Not all play and family time, but busy fulfilling requests and creating a new product to help more speakers grow, coaching, and attending the International Conference in Orlando….and MOVING!!!
I am back and ready to finish out 2012 with a bang! How do you plan to finish out 2012 as you continue to grow as a speaker?
September 2012 - In This Issue
  • broadcasters’ storytelling secrets of holding audiences spellbound from start to finish
  • how their secrets and ours as speakers are so closely related

The month of July’s Champions’ EDGE CD, caught my attention, not only because we landed on the letter “J” as it relates to storytelling skills, but because as speakers, we can readily learn from the way journalists approach their broadcasted stories. Ed Tate, 2000 WCPS, interviewed an international award-winning video journalist and media consultant, Furhana Afrid, ( on the topic of broadcasters’ storytelling secrets. 
Quotation of the month:  “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.” Robert McKee
Journey with a Journalist
Ever wondered, as I have, how a reporter manages to convey a story in such a short space of time, as in…2minutes or so?
By reading through Furhana’s storytelling secrets, you will pick up tips on telling a story concisely keeping your audience interested from start to finish.
Ed's questions to you, the listener (Can you answer yes to any of them???)
  • Can you tell a compelling story in 90 seconds or less?
  • Can you describe that same story in 3 words or less?
  • Do you know how to spread ‘gold coins’ throughout your story?
Furhana stated that in only 2 -2 ½ minutes, journalists have 2 major tasks
  • assemble all research, interviews, and visuals into a comprehensive story
  • convey it in a concise, interesting manner for audience, holding their attention throughout
How do they do this? The following is a summary of Furhana’s storytelling secrets from a journalist’s perspective. While reading what she states, I invite you to reflect and compare what she says to what you already know about storytelling.
The most crucial element as a compelling storyteller said in 4 simple words: “Aim for the heart!” This results in a home run as it captures the audience’s attention in the first 5-10 critical seconds, and then keeps their attention.
1. The start of writing your story:
  • Find a focus: what is your story about…WHO did WHAT…use 3 words to describe story...keep it simple, not a series of sentences i.e. “Violence hits home” (her story on violence in Kenya, her home country and effects on the people) or “Dangerous Bridges” (her story about Montana’s dangerous bridges, triggered by bridge collapse in Minneapolis)
Message must be focused…nothing complicated... when writing your story, continually check the 3/4 words to bring you back to focus avoiding digressing… when you deliver story, this keeps the audience interested
2. The body of the story:

To be memorable, a story must be:
  • relevant to all…human to human connection, heart to heart, soul to soul. “Viewers remember what they feel longer than what they know”… either you’ve been there, or someone else has …something close to your heart
  • universal issue in nature, all can relate...put yourself in someone’s else’s shoes…otherwise why should people care…talk about people who have pain/ hardship or triumph/celebration/a human interest story
  • quick to get to the ‘meat’ of the story…presentations are not mystery novels… audiences shouldn’t wait to the end to see who did it…give them something at beginning to keep them spellbound until the end. i.e. “If the story is about an unemployed mother or wounded soldier, bring them in early.”
3. The ending of the story…a few examples of how to make last words linger
  • Save a gold nugget of information until the end... drop something surprising and new
  • Give them take away info so they take action…something in audience must happen… where do we go from here…here is what you can do …where to find out more
  •  End on an emotional level…heart pounding…”Wow, I get it, I’ve experienced that too” audience thinks/feels
4. Furhana’s final thoughts…
Aim for the heart…be truthful and be yourself…don’t fabricate your stories…don’t give not too much information...limit jargon…objective is to better their lives... and remember to Spread golden nuggets throughout the story!!
Did any of Furhana’s information on storytelling from a journalist’s perspective resonate with you as much as it did for me? I sincerely hope so!
May you continue to grow in leaps and bounds as a speaker!
Nice to be back with you!
I invite you to join me next month, when we examine the letter "K" as it relates to another storytelling skill.

Until then, happy speaking!

Individual Speech Coaching or Group Instruction Available
  •  for business people who want to successfully sell their ideas, products or services
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Contact me at: or call me at: 416 489 6603

Kathryn MacKenzie, M.Ed. DTM 
Presentation Skills Instructor | Keynote Speaker | Author

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