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 5 Story Templates to Avoid

 5 Story Templates to Avoid

Stories make your message stick – whether you are talking to your board, your team, your prospect, your kids, or even people you meet while traveling.

But not all stories are created equal.

5 ways you screw up on telling your stories ➜

BORING STORY – Think about movies and books. Something always goes awry, then you’re hooked on the plot. A story without conflict is a boring non-story. You might as well be sharing your grocery list. If you want to engage your listener, include the problems and challenges. Otherwise you don’t have a tale worth telling.

CONFUSING STORY – The trick about telling a good story is to explain your context first. Where are you? What’s the setting? Include some specific details about the place or people that bring the locale and characters alive.

POINTLESS STORY – Why tell a story that has no relevance to your listener? Is there a learning lesson or value to your story? You don’t have to be preachy, but you do need to provide a reason for your audience to want to hear your story

ALWAYS THE HERO STORY – You know people who do this! Every story is about themselves and their triumphs. The best stories are self-deprecating. You can still share your successes but we learn more from your foibles than from your gold medals.

TANGENT STORY – A first cousin to a Confusing Story! You begin and then get lost going down various tangent lanes… without tying the subplots back to your main story. If your tangent adds to your story, like a funny riff, then circle back before you lose your main thread.

Practice telling good stories in non-stressful settings. Be aware of when you lose your listeners’ interest, or they don’t laugh when you think they should, or they don’t “get” what you’re saying. Then tweak.

Review this Glossary of Bad Story templates and call us to work on this skill set.

 

Photo Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_deagreez’>deagreez</a>

Top 5 ½ Best 2023 Communication Habits

Top 5 ½ Best 2023 Communication Habits

My handsome husband, Jim, and I wish you a happy new year and a fulfilling year ahead! 🥂 🎉 

Time to reveal our ’23 Communication Best-Of List – guaranteed to boost your communication skills even more in ’24.

#1 🎤 Communication Habit: Find the humor. 

Even during drama-filled times and situations – funny stuff happens. Keep notes on this “you cannot believe what just happened” truths. Use this material in your conversations/presentations.

#2 🎤 Communication Habit: Ask questions. 

You will be forced to listen more and you’ll learn more than if you’re doing all the talking.

#3 🎤 Communication Habit: Read more. 

Fiction or non-fiction – you’ll gain insights and become even more articulate. Even a trashy novel can provide examples of how to use dialog, plot development, and what makes for a good story.

#4 🎤 Communication Habit:  Reflect on your positive communication experiences in ’23. 

You do a great job of remembering in exquisite detail when you think you’ve failed at running that meeting, or facilitating the board discussion, or giving a speech to your shareholders. Think back on when you rocked on your platforms. Not only will this make you feel great – but it has a positive rollover effect on your future gigs.

#5 🎤 Communication Habit:  Write more. 

Practice writing short and clear emails, articles, reports and posts.

Confession: I began writing this blog series … kicking and screaming. Now I realize it’s been one of my best communication habits. Writing makes you a better communicator. I am forced to observe with purpose… all the time… constantly mining for good info and stories.

#5 ½  🎤 Communication Habit: Empower by praising others.

It’s a complicated world, made just a little bit easier if you can find something positive to say to the next person in line at the grocery store or to anyone in your personal and professional arenas. You’ll make their day. So give someone a specific and sincere compliment today.

YOU are the reason this blog exists. Thank you for your support and comments directly on this blog or in my email box. See you in 2024. 

Attention Crisis – Best communication antidotes to get heard above the noise

Attention Crisis – Best communication antidotes to get heard above the noise

I planned to write this blog an hour ago. But Cyber Monday got in the way. I’m distracted by a great deal!

Welcome to your world.

Did you know that your attention span now trades on the open market?

Graham Burnett, Alyssa Loh and Peter Schmidt write in the New York Times,

“Increasingly powerful systems seek to ensure that our attention is never truly ours… We are witnessing the dark side of our new technological lives … Vast quantities of high-pressure media content are pumped into our faces.”

You know this because you too are distracted by emails, breaking news and discounts.

This guest opinion NYT essay goes on to share, “You are lucky these days to get 47 seconds of focused attention on a discrete task.”

How do you get heard above the noise when you only have 47 seconds?

  • Be unique from the get go. Do not begin a meeting, presentation or even a Linked In post with generic pleasantries. Start with a startling statement, a story, a quote, or a solution to a problem targeted to your listeners.
  • Tell good stories – in a speech, at your holiday party table, or in the hallways at your next conference.
  • Schedule carefully. Place your presentation mid-morning if possible. Caffeine has been injected and your digital life is under control.
  • Insert breaks – if you’re talking for more than 90 minutes.
  • Mix it up. If you’re giving a presentation of any length keep your content moving and include your audience in nonthreatening ways.
  • Be organized. Tangents will kill you.
  • Use humor. Carefully. I’m not a fan of jokes because you might alienate others. Use self-deprecating humor. One time my computer blew up. Another time someone stole it. Painful then, funny now … and lessons abound. (Always bring a backup and put your info/ppt in the cloud.)
  • Bribe often! I always throw snickers into the group to bring home the point that we need to snicker/chuckle more. Take your work seriously, take yourself a little less seriously.

Catching a small piece of chocolate – perfect attention crisis antidote!

“Dayenu” in action

“Dayenu” in action

How this transformative Hebrew word can clarify the way you think, communicate and act ➜

Dayenu (die – YAY – nu) defined

The Hebrew translation is “That would be sufficient”, and boiled down to one word … “ENOUGH”.

It’s also the title of a traditional one-thousand-years-old upbeat song that’s part of the Jewish holiday Passover. Every year as my family celebrates Passover we have a “Seder”, a special dinner, and we each read a paragraph from the “Haggadah” – the telling of the story of the exodus from slavery in Egypt to the freedom beyond; and we sing “Dayenu”.

This song is about being grateful to G-d for the gifts given to the Jewish people. A few lines:

“If G-d had brought us out from Egypt … Dayenu, it would have been sufficient!”

“If G-d had fed us only matza … Dayenu, it would have been sufficient!”

Dayenu in your life

❓  What’s “Dayenu / Enough” for you regarding money, possessions, or even Linked In likes & impressions?

❓  What’s “Dayenu / Enough” in terms of your professional achievements?

❓  What’s “Dayenu / Enough” when thinking about the relationships in your life?

❓  What would make you say, “Yes, that (fill in the blank) would be sufficient. That would be enough”?

You tell me… or rather, you tell yourself.

Dayenu in my life

This pic is our out-door Seder during the pandemic. Thank you, Nina & Bob, for being such gracious hosts every year. Dayenu.

We will once again sit around this table this week with loved ones and sing this song. That would be sufficient. Dayenu.

#communication   #SpeakForYourself   #KarenCortellReisman   #dayenu

One Powerful Way to Add Traction to your Message

One Powerful Way to Add Traction to your Message

Mickey Raphael*, Willie Nelson’s harmonica player in 7000 performances, says, “Miles (Davis) taught me, ‘Don’t overdo it. Take a breath. What’s important is the space between the notes.’”

When you want your listeners to really hear you: Don’t overdo it. Take a breath. What’s important is the space [pauses] between your content.

Why use pauses?

  • Pauses enhance your vocal variety.
  • Pauses keep your audience attentive.
  • Pauses act as verbal commas, semi-colons and periods.

So why don’t you pause more often?

  • When you get nervous you speed up – the exact opposite intention!
  • You can’t stand white space!
  • Time distortion: You think you’ve paused for an eternity but it’s been only 1 nano-second.

How do you master the art of the pause?

  • Use a pause to transition from one idea to the next. (Your most logical pause strategy.)
  • Insert a “pause” into your material when you want to create drama. (Write it into your outline & internally count “1001, 1002, 1003 – maybe even longer.”)
  • Add pauses when sharing a story. (Especially if you act out some dialogue.)

Pausing is one of the most powerful tools you have when you speak. I urge you to find “The Space Between Your Notes”.

*PS: Personal trivia – Mickey Raphael grew up in my home town, Dallas, and my parents enjoyed a great friendship with Thelma and Arno, Mickey’s parents!

#KarenCortellReisman   #Communication   #SpeakForYourself   #MickeyRaphael   #PowerOfThePause

Storytelling – What NOT to say

Storytelling – What NOT to say

Stories make your message stick long after you’ve revealed your product benefits, shared your company’s new strategy or even emceed an event.

I had the honor of emceeing my National Speakers Association – North TX Chapter meeting recently. While introducing the featured speaker I shared a personal story highlighting the speaker.

The Story

“A while back, for another convention, I had the chance to drive our featured speaker from our airport to the venue. We got lost. Twice. At the same place. Underneath a pile of highway intersections in a restaurant parking lot with dumpsters to our left and the back of the restaurant to our right. Now, granted, we did not have sophisticated GPS systems nor cockpit panel screens in our cars yet, but I was one second away from crying/laughing with hysteria when we landed next to the dumpsters the second time. She grabbed my phone … and guided me out of this spot.”

“Why am I telling you this story?” I asked this current audience. “Because 2 weeks later she sent me a hand-written thank you note and never mentioned that this was the ride from hell. As speakers we talk about ‘walking our talk’ – being the same off the stage as on the stage. Our speaker did just that – she is a really nice person, even when no one is looking.”

The audience grasped the depth of her business credibility from the prepared introduction.  The personalized story showed her kindness.

The story worked.

What I did NOT say in that driving story

Before picking her up at the airport I had an oncology doctor visit discussing my breast cancer diagnosis. I’m fine now (thankfully) but I was not fine that day. I’m sure that added to my driving duress.

What NOT to say in your stories

Don’t add extra info that sidetracks your story or does not move your story forward.

The story, as stated, is funny due to using self-deprecating humor. I expose my crummy driving. No one needs to know the real reason I kept getting lost.

Don’t overshare unnecessary info about yourself.

You may feel compelled to share ALL the details, but don’t do it IF it takes away from your story’s relevance.

And don’t make yourself the hero of your stories.

#communication   #KarenCortellReisman   #SpeakForYourself   #StoryTellingRules

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