Your Speech Needs a Blizzard

 In Story, Storytelling

What does the weather report have to do with your next presentation?

Man in the middle of a blizzard holding a steering wheel

A recent article in the New Yorker by science writer Maria Konnikova suggests that bad weather like Storm Juno is still some of the most interesting news around.  Obviously. But why? Because bad weather is risky business. Risk-taking is a hark back to our primitive roots when it was a necessity that had great rewards … like food … and it makes us all emotional. Similarly, people love a good obstacle in a story. And the bigger the obstacle the more we like it. Business people don’t always get this, and too often business stories, especially case studies, only tell the good news and how successful the project/company/product was. A story without an obstacle fails to capture the hearts and minds of the audience. And since emotion and memory are connected in the brain, the story is not memorable. Conversely, a good story with a good problem to solve will be repeated by others, which is what you want.

The next time you tell a story, follow these three points to create a blizzard of your own that reaches your audience’s hearts and minds:

  1. Find the hurdle you had to jump over in order to find an answer and talk it up before you give the resolution.
  2. Use adjectives and adverbs to add an emotional pull to the story. (Color words)
  3. Match the intensity of your delivery to the intensity of your words.

And practice it all aloud several times.

For more on this topic, please see my post, The Storyteller’s Voice is Everyone’s Business 

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