Communication Rebel Blog

Is Telling Your Story Hurting Your Speaking Cred?

Share your soul stirring story.

Your story? It's your legacy. You must share it on the stage.

You are doing your audience a huge disservice if you don't share your story. Heck, the whole world wants to hear your story.

Or, do they?

Telling your story is very popular public speaking advice.

All about how the audience wants to hear your story.

However, a friend of mine did an informal poll on Facebook asking, “What breaks your trust with a speaker?”

The number one answer was fascinating to me, because the number one thing that breaks the audience’s trust with you, the speaker, is talking about yourself too much. It's about your story and sharing that story.

We have conflicting information right?

On one hand we have all of these speaking gurus who are telling you to share your story, because that's what's important, and that's how you'll connect with your audience.

On the other hand, you have people saying they don't want to hear it.

What direction, as a speaker, should you go in so that telling your story isn't undermining your speaking credibility?

Today we'll talk about how to decide if telling your story is undermining your speaking credibility, and what to do about it.

Prefer to listen?

How is your story harming your speaking cred?

The first question to ask is, “How could telling your story be hurting your speaking credibility?”

The answer to this question is about the vibe or the experience that you are creating for the audience.

When there is too much reliance on telling your story, or it's not clear how your audience can directly benefit from your story, it creates this, “Hey, look at me,” vibe, versus a, “Hey, look at you,” vibe.

Speakers need to be about the audience. The speech is never about the speaker, but it's about, “How can this speech serve you? How can I, as a speaker, serve you?”

When your story is more, “Hey, look at me,” you can lose out on repeat business from organizations who hired you, and could hire you again in the future, or to do additional trainings.

You can lose out on new clients, because your speech isn't as effective as it could be, so it is not converting your audience members into clients.

Also, it can cost you referrals for other speaking gigs, and testimonials.

The bottom line here is that the audience doesn't care about your story.

Nope.

They don't care unless there is a benefit to them.

If you're telling your story, and you're not clear about how your story is benefiting the audience, what the takeaway is, they're not going to care about it.

They don't care about the rags to riches, and frankly, people are getting more and more over that story.

The audience is really tuned into what's-in-it-for-me TV. Why are you telling me this? What's important? If your story doesn't offer them something, they're not going to care.

Be the Guide not the Hero

What should you do? You should reposition your story so that you're not the hero of the story, but instead, you're the guide for the audience. This is from Donald Miller of Story Brand, I loved how he explained it in an episode of Perpetual Traffic.

When we tell our story and make ourselves the hero of the journey, the audience’s response is, “Hey, well, you know I hope that turns out well for you. I hope all is well in your life.”

Then they think to themselves, “Now I have this problem, and I hope somebody comes along to help me with it.” In this case, you have to reposition yourself as the guide.

The guide is Yoda, to Luke Skywalker.

The guide is Dumbledore, to Harry Potter.

The guide is Haymitch, to Katniss.

They are the person that helps you along the audience’s journey, or that helps you along your journey.

Turn Your Story Around

Your challenge is if you're telling your story, how do you reposition it so that you're the guide to the audience and not the hero?

An example of this comes from one of my own signature talks. I talk about how I got my first client.

It was when I was a blogger and a terrible blogger at that. I wrote my first post about something that really pissed me off.

I was at an event, and this speaker was just horribly manipulative to the audience. I wrote this epic blog post on how not to be a motivational speaker, like sitting in the room. It was the type of post that scares me.

You know, if something scares you, that's a great sign that you should put it out in the world.

I put this blog post out in the world, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, I'm going to get hate mail from this.”

Sure enough, I got an email and it was someone wanting to hire me because of my blog post. Now, what does that mean for you, the audience?  

It means that your powerful points of view make you stand out, and it's what makes people want to hire you to speak. That's the turnaround.

I tell that story because I want my audience to do something scary, which is expressing their opinion, and realize that the right people are going to find you, and want to do business with you.

It's always about turning the story back to your audience, and what they can learn, and what they can apply from your story.

Let's turn your story around, shall we? You can apply for a complimentary 30 minute Speak for Impact Strategy Session, and we can talk about how to use your story to position you as a guide so that you can book more speaking gigs, or get more clients, and achieve your speaking goals. Just go to DrMichelleMazur.com/Speak.

Telling your soul stirring story could be having the opposite impact that you want in your speaking business. Position yourself as the guide, and your audience will follow your lead.

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