Do You Communicate a Lot, But Don’t Consider Yourself a Great Storyteller?

Have your eyes ever glazed over as a speaker drones on and one, spouting statistics and facts? Do you even remember anything an hour later? What about the next day?

Now it’s your turn to be in front of your team. How are you going to reach and connect with them?

Do you communicate a lot, but don’t consider yourself a great storyteller?

It’s time to reach back in human history, and turn to the power of the story.

Storytelling has existed as the primary means of communicating among people even long before writing was developed. Success was measured by how much the audience remembered and a high value was placed on techniques that helped people remember things.

In spite of all the technological marvels available to leaders today, the simple but powerful use of a story often translates your ideas into realities in the listener’s minds. Stories are effective when they lodge in the heart of the listener, and are then acted on.

Solution #3 Make the listener, not you, the hero of your story

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Resonate, by Nancy Duarte

sums-remix-3Resonate leverages techniques normally reserved for cinema and literature, revealing how to transform any story into an engaging journey. Using the techniques in Resonate, you’ll be able to:

  • Leverage the hidden story structures inherent in great communication
  • Connect with your audience empathetically
  • Create captivating content
  • Craft ideas that get repeated
  • Inspire enthusiasm and support for your vision

Stories are the most powerful delivery tool for information, more powerful and enduring than any other art form.

A Simple Solution

Wouldn’t you like to have your audience leaning forward in their seats, anticipating the next few words you will be saying? A great story has that effect on listeners, and it begins with making the listener the hero of your story.

When trying to connect with someone while telling a story, you have to remember that it’s not all about you.

You are not the hero who will save the audience; the audience is your hero.

You need to defer to your audience because if they don’t engage and believe in your message, you are the one who loses. Without their help, your idea will fail.

Leaders need to take this to heart, place the people in the audience at the center of the action, and make them feel that the presentation is addressing them personally.

So what’s your role, then? You are the mentor. The audience is the one who’ll do all the heavy lifting to help you reach your objectives. You’re simply one voice helping them get unstuck in their journey.

When you change your stance from thinking you’re the hero to acknowledging your role as a mentor, you will find your viewpoint altered. A mentor has a selfless nature and is willing to make a personal sacrifice so that the hero can reach the reward. Audience insights and resonance can only occur when a presenter takes a stance of humility.

Nancy Duarte, Resonate

A NEXT STEP

Changing your stance from that of the hero to one of the storyteller will connect the listeners to your idea and make them the hero. When listeners become the hero and connect to your idea, they will change.

Good church leaders are telling stories all the time. As you prepare for your next leadership speaking opportunity it’s easy to become the center of the story. Remember to make the listener the hero instead of you.

By offering a clear choice of what is (their present situation) with what could be (a better future), the people you lead become the hero. As you preach, are you making members of the congregation the hero? When you lead your church in a capital campaign, they are the heroes. As a team leader, your team should be the hero. In a small group, the group members are the hero.

Of course, every story related to the Gospel makes Jesus the hero.

Ultimately, you need to make your story about Jesus.

How will you know if you are becoming more effective with your stories? It’s simple: you will be accomplishing whatever you had hoped to accomplish by telling the story in the first place.

It’s time for you to step out and lead through your stories!


Part of a new series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, as biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. I’m going to peruse back issues of both SUMS and SUMS Remix and publish excerpts each Wednesday.

You can find out more information about SUMS Remix here. Subscribe to SUMS Remix here.

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Engage Your Audience, Sell Your Ideas, and Inspire People to Act

If I am to speak for ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now. – Woodrow T. Wilson

There are typically very few – if any – leadership positions in which the leader is a lone ranger with no teams to work with or report to, no organizational support, and no larger group to speak to on occasions.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are few leadership positions where the leader is constantly working with teams of all sizes, being supported by a few – or a few dozen – individuals, and is regularly speaking to a larger group.

One of those positions is a pastor.

When a pastor steps to the pulpit – in a 100 member church or a 10,000 member church, and everywhere in between – it would be easy to feel as if he were in a position of power. After all, he is up in front of the crowd, maybe even elevated on a stage, and people have come to hear him speak. The speaker is the star of the show, right?

Wrong. The audience is.

I would pause just to say that God is our ultimate audience, and everything we do as a believer is first to an audience of One. That, to me, is a given.

The speaker is not the star of the presentation – the audience is, because they will determine whether your idea spreads or dies, simply by embracing or rejecting it. You need them more than they need you. They have the control, and the speaker needs to be humble in his approach to speaking to them.

How, then, do you become an excellent presenter?

Nancy Duarte is CEO of Duarte, Inc. She teaches workshops on the art of presenting and is the author of two award-winning books: Slide:ology and Resonate. Wait a minute – better make that three!

Harvard Business Review has just published Duarte’s newest book, HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations, and once again she has delivered a valuable tool for speakers everywhere – but especially pastors who stand up every week and deliver a presentation – a sermon – to their congregations.

Duarte’s Guide is broken into 7 sections as follows:

We live and work in a first-draft culture. Type a text or email – send. Write a blog entry – post. Throw some images together – speak.

According to Duarte, though, it’s in crafting and recrafting, in iteration and rehearsal that excellence emerges.

But, you say, I have so many other things to do and I can’t worry about becoming an excellent communicator. Guess what? Becoming an excellent communicator will help you get those things done.

Ready to start?

Next: Audience: Know your audience and build empathy

Want to read more by Nancy Duarte? Click here to read her “10 Steps in Preparing a Powerful Presentation” and also download a free summary of her book Resonate.

Stories Convey Meaning

Stories are the most powerful delivery tool for information; more powerful and enduring than any other art form.

People love stories because life is full of adventure and we’re hardwired to learn lessons from observing change in others. Life is messy, so we empathize with characters who have real-life challenges similar to the ones we face. When we listen to a story, the chemicals in our body change, and our mind becomes transfixed.

Stories link one person’s heart to another. Values, beliefs, and norms become intertwined. When this happens, your idea can more readily manifest as reality in their minds.

Tell the story.

Adapted from Resonate, by Nancy Duarte

Change is…

Healthy.

Organizations are not alive in a literal sense – but they have to change and adapt in order to stay alive.

Nancy Duarte, writing in “Resonate,” talks about the life cycle of organizations – start-up, growth, maturity, and eventually decline. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

An organization should make continual shifts and improvements to stay healthy.

In order to do that well, leaders must excel at persuasion.

Movements are started, products are purchased, philosophies are adopted, subject matter is mastered – all with the help of persuasive presentations.

Presentations create a catalyst for meaningful change by using human contact in a way that no other medium can.

Go ahead – change the world.