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 November 2012 - In This Issue
  • 6 ways to lose your audience quickly when you tell a story
  • Techniques to avoid losing them
Quotations of the month:
"If you tell me it's an essay. If you show me, it's a story." - Barbara Greene
"Don't say: The old lady screamed; bring her on and let her scream." - Mark Twain
  6 Easy Ways to Lose your audience when telling a story:
  • Tell a story without a message therefore having no valid reason to tell it. "What is loose is lost." Craig Valentine. Result? Audience is confused and tuned out. Remedy: Ensure you have a message for all stories. (Do you have a message and story file?)
  • Use too many 'I' sores! as in: "I did this, I did that, I saw this, I saw that...I...I...I..." making it all about you, the speaker, not them, the audience, and concluding by saying: "And I challenge you to do the same!" Result? They likely won't take heed to your challenge because the story was all about you and they tuned out, thinking: "So what! Who Cares! What's in it for me?" Remedy: Step out of your story periodically. Check in with them and see if they can relate, agree or disagree and so on...keep them engaged and WITH you!
  • Force them into your story by saying: 7 years ago I...When I was young I...Result? You are leaving them on the outside looking in. Remedy: Invite them in by saying something like: " If you had been with me 7 years ago"...or..."I wish you could have been there with me way back when..."
  • Never breathe life into your stories by telling them continually in narrative format. Result? Possible boredom of audience since it sounds like a report. Remedy: Introduce relatable, relevant characters and give them a hint of physical description and background story, and DIALOGUE.
  • Never hook them into the conflict by never raising the conflict to boiling point, or raising it too fast. Result? Audience doesn't experience the excitement and curiosity for the outcome. Remedy: Set up the conflict in steps moving towards a high point (climax)
  • Make yourself special, the hero of your stories. Result? Audience is turned off since you appear as a know-it-all. Remedy: Try to establish commonalities, similarities with your audience. Then they will relate to you and truly connect.
To re-cap, do your utmost not to fall into these traps and lose your audience; instead, make your stories come alive so you will have the audiences at the edge of their seats throughout the re-living of your stories!
Join me next month when I discuss the letter “M” as it relates to another story-telling skill.
Until then, happy speaking!
Kathryn :-)
Individual Speech Coaching or Group Instruction Available
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or call me at: 416 489 6603 (Toronto, Canada)

Canadian Association of
Professional Speakers
Kathryn MacKenzie, M.Ed. DTM 
Presentation Skills Instructor | Keynote Speaker | Author

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