An exercise in storytelling

Ultimate Communicator Training Camp

Earlier this year I attended our Ultimate Communicator Training Camp, a program that teaches participants how to reach their professional goals through powerful communication techniques. I was very impressed by the material, facilitator and other attendees (you can read more about my experience on the Bud to Boss Blog). Ultimate Communicator definitely lived up to its promise to teach attendees how to be more confident and persuasive communicators.

One of my favorite activities from the session was an exercise in storytelling. We read two versions of a fictional speech at a town hall meeting that requested funding for guard rails and other accident-preventive measures on a dangerous road. In the first version, the main facts—11 accidents within a year and $34,000 to install the suggested measures—were laid out clearly and concisely, but without emotion. In the second version, however, the facts were still present, but they were encased inside a story about one of the people who had died on that stretch of road. That story humanized the issue, and—had the scenario been real—would undoubtedly have garnered more votes at the meeting.

If you never read the second version, the first wouldn’t have seemed wrong or even necessarily deficient. It might have been “good enough” to convince those in power to install the guard rail, but is “good enough” actually good enough, when you’re attempting to persuade people about something important? I don’ think it is.

You can practice this technique on your own. Look up data on any subject that interests you, and craft stories around it. Once you have the hang of that, review the data that you present in your own speeches. Could you reveal it in a more interesting, memorable and persuasive way if you embedded it into a story?

If you want to become an Ultimate Communicator, register for one of these upcoming sessions:

Milwaukee: Nov. 15-16

Phoenix: Dec. 4-5

Richmond, Va.: Dec. 11-12

Sign up today for the session nearest you! (And hurry—they do sell out.)

If you’re looking for training that’s focused specifically on speaking and presenting, don’t forget about our American Speaker Training Camp. There are two upcoming sessions in Las Vegas: Dec. 10-11 for the original course and Dec. 12-13 for the advanced course. (Register before Nov. 10 and Nov. 12, respectively, to take advantage of the early bird pricing!)

Who do you think is a great storyteller?

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