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Give the Audience YOUR View


By Bob Goodyear

Last week I was invited to be a guest speaker at an open house for a Toastmasters club. The subject of my speech was “Tell a Technical Tale.” I was speaking about the importance of stories in all presentations but specifically in presentations on technical subjects. I learned something very important as I was preparing—I needed to shift my view.

Storytelling in business and especially in presentations has become, in my opinion, the latest business trend. It’s almost impossible to go to a business website or publication without seeing at least one article on this topic. Storytelling, in marketing and in communications with employees and customers, seems to be the most important thing anyone in business can do.

While writing this, I decided to do a search for “Business & Money” books on Amazon to see how many books contained the subject of storytelling. At the time of this writing between paperbacks, audible audio editions, Kindle editions, hardcovers, and audio CDs, there were 697 items listed! Yes, storytelling is a huge trend in business today.

Given that this topic seems to be on everyone’s mind in business these days, what can you do to make your stories memorable? Whenever we tell a story in a business situation, the story should be ours. What I mean by that is that we should be telling stories that come from our own life experiences, not someone else’s. Our audiences want to hear from us, see things from our point of view, and hear them in our voice. While the starfish story might be a good story (here’s one version) it’s not our story and we can’t tell it from our experience.

Now back to my Toastmasters story. As I prepared for the speech, I was tempted to use stories that I had heard from co-workers and friends who had shared some pretty good ones with me. As the time for the speech drew closer however, I remembered this point of wanting to give my audience my view instead of someone else’s. In the end, I used three different stories from my work career and the speech was very well received. Give your audience your point of view with your stories.

Bob Goodyear is a veteran speaker on technology who understands the communications challenges that technical professionals face. Find out how Bob can help your organization with its presentation. Reach Bob by email or by phone at 678.447.7272