Strategies by mining your life to hook an audience to listn

 In Delivery

A simple, brief story that you can tie into your key message is a good way to hook your audience. The challenge is how to find a story that is not overdone and staid (eg. the Colonel Sander’s Kentucky Fried Chicken story. It’s usually used as an example of how to be successful by persevering) and that you can tie into your key message.

One way to find your own stories is to do an audit of your life. That is, review specific time periods of your life, specifically child, adolescent, adult, and reflect back on memorable stories and anecdotes for those time of life periods. One matrix handout I give to my sales presentation clients, to help them with finding their own stories, is labelled, ‘Mining your life for stories and anecdotes’.

Here is the how you can apply and use the matrix:

1. On an A4 sheet of paper, across the top, write the categories of Child, Adolescent and Adult’. Down the left hand side of the sheet write the following categories ‘Family, Friends, School, Work, Holidays, Hobbies, Events, Rites of Passage’.

2. Then use the matrix to think, about your life.  Start with thinking of memories of your childhood (in the form of anecdotes, stories, humourous incidents etc) in relation your Family.  Brainstorm for a minute or two.  Then review what you’ve written.

One way to do this is to ask yourself:

a. What was the event, anecdote, story, episode?

b. Why was it significant?

c. What did you learn that would also benefit an audience or how could this event, story or anecdote be used in one of your work presentations?

If there is nothing that you think can be used, go to the next category. That is ‘Friends’.  Think about your memories of your friends when you were a child. Brainstorm for a minute and write down any ideas. Then go to the next category of School. Keep doing down the list until you’re finished with the items. Then you would start the process again but now you would use the time period of when you were an Adolescent. Start with memories of your Family when you were an Adolescent and so on.

By going through all the time periods and categories you should be able to come up with at least one story, anecdote or episode that you could use in a work presentation and potentially to use to hook your audience to listen to you.

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  • Joseph Edwin

    Michael – this is a great way to mine ones memories for interesting anecdotes that you can use to draw the audience in. I have unconsciously used this method but will try this more structured approach next time. I think using one’s personal experiences is always more convincing as you speak about it with great passion and fondness and the audience can see that.

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