By Ken Ingram – Whatever you do in your business life, at some point you will have an opportunity to speak in front of a group. When such occasions present themselves unexpectedly, you will have no choice but to step up and be in the spotlight. It can be the scariest of events or your moment to shine. Leadership through storytelling engages people. Seize opportunities to practice.
Imagine for a moment you are at an event. They announce that each person will have the opportunity to come forward to give a 60-second infomercial about their business. If you were to survey those in the room, you would likely learn that half the room is in panic mode. Speaking in public is not something many leaders are comfortable doing. It causes a significant spike in stress levels. However, when asked to speak, it is your professional responsibility to maintain control of your frame of mind and project a level of confidence.
One thing that you can do to make your presentation more powerful and effective is to turn it into a story. A story helps to keep your message clear and to the point. When you are storytelling it adds value, interest, and drama to the message. Engagement increases which is why leadership through storytelling is so effective.
A key mistake many people make in this situation is rambling. One of the first strategies many of us learned and adopted is to practice what we intend to say out loud so that we can hear how the story sounds before we are in front of an audience.
A second strategy is that if we need to read notes we can jot them down in “breath-size” bites, so that the story can be told with purposeful pauses. As Mark Twain said, ”The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”
Small things can be the most challenging to do. Craft an interesting story. Practice. Include well-timed pauses. Enunciate your words: Speaking slowly is not as important as speaking clearly. So be prepared and practice using skills that will enhance your message. Practicing leadership through storytelling will help your level of confidence will soar.
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