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Stories – The Magic Elixir For Stage Fright

Stories – The Magic Elixir For Stage Fright

By Connie Timpson/Sr. Instructor/The Leaders’ Institute

We’ve all been there. You know the material. You have practiced and practiced. You are confident in the power of the message, yet there is a knot of nerves in your stomach threatening to knock you to your knees. Suddenly what you wanted to say has left your brain, and all you can think of is sitting down.

Now rewind. How can you eliminate this stomach wrenching, knee knocking fear before it starts? Tell more stories. Real life stories. Tell stories that paint a picture of your objective. As the story unfolds, your nerves will fade. You know your own stories so they are easy to tell. They add drama, humor and understanding. And for you, the magic elixir of the story soothes your stage fright.

Why put in a story when you have prepared a whole Power Point filled with impressive numbers. Because numbers are boring! Numbers are only impressive if you bring them to life. A statistic or finding is just that, a data set, unless you wrap the numbers in the power of a story. Any number can become a story or analogy that persuades an audience.

Example: Miami Herald – One in every 14 homes, or 7.2 percent of total housing units, was in some stage of the foreclosure process in the Cape Coral area on Florida’s west coast, compared to Las Vegas where the number was one in 13 homes, or 7.45 percent.

Turn those numbers into a “real life” story. Yesterday morning, I was walking around my neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida and I started counting the “distressed” sale signs on the houses. Three years ago there were none. I used to count birds. Now when I walk into any cul-de-sac in the area and count off 14 homes, at least one of them will have a “distressed sale” “short sale” or bank repossession sign on the lawn. The reason is simple, a family took a gamble on an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, and it backfired on them.

Make boring statistics come to life
and your audience will “appreciate” not “tolerate” your presentation.

You can capture the attention of an entire room by telling a “a really good story.” Drawing on shared emotions and experiences, stories create rapport, interest in your subject, and buy in. The more stories you tell – the more lively your speech becomes, and the more relaxed and powerful you become as a speaker. Stories are the elixir to boredom, disinterest and most importantly, stage fright.


Author: Connie Timpson, Date Published: August 25, 2009

Connie Timpson was an instructor for The Leader's Institute ® from 2008-2012. For more details, you can find her on LinkedIn.

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