Watching the Juno awards this past weekend, Canadian Hall of Fame and music legend, Alanis Morrisette said in her acceptance speech that because she was Canadian, she felt she was able to be a great storyteller through her lyrics and music. Morrisette's comments made me think about how true it is that storytelling is a very 'Canadian-like' pastime that encompasses a unique mix of self-depricating humour and truth that makes us very interesting to listen too. We can take pride in knowing that as Canadians, we are some of the best storytellers-- maybe that is why Canadians are so well-liked when we travel internationally, because we command the attention of those around us in a funny and thought-provoking way. We seem to know the real way to be a compelling and effective speaker.
When you think of what it takes to be a great storyteller, it boils down to 3 things:
- Having a story worth sharing and telling;
- Telling it in a most sincere, genuine and captivating way; and
- Leaving an impression both as the storyteller and through the story/message you shared that resonates with the audience.
Every person has a 'niche,' 'subject matter,' or ''passion' that they can easily speak too. Have you ever asked yourself, what YOUR niche is that could make you a great speaker? Ask yourself these questions:
- How do you get people's attention? When your standing in a social circle or are out for dinner with friends, family, work colleagues or your networks, what type of stories do you enjoy telling?
- What type of value is there in your stories that people can take away from the stories you tell? Are they funny, serious, thought-provoking, or fact filled?
- What topics do you address when your telling your stories? Do you only talk about work? Are your stories about your favourite pastimes/hobbies? Or are your stories based more on current affairs, events or people?
- How do your stories set you apart from others? How are your stories uniquely-different than everyone else?
- Does the way in which you tell your story captivate the people around you? Can you hear a pin-drop when you're speaking? Or do you find you have to really work to get people's attention and keep it? How could you work on this? Say less but say more at the same time perhaps.
Know that as a Canadian, it is innately in you to be a great storyteller, you just have to decide when you want to speak up and when you do, what type of storyteller you want to be. You need to decide what type of impact you want to make by what story you tell and in how you deliver that story. As we addressed in our last entry, we need more speakers and storytellers to engage, share and make a difference in society. One of the most important ways you can make a difference as a leader and change maker is when you SPEAK UP and EVOKE ACTION in others. Be sure to know what you want to say and how you want to say it to make the best impact because EVERYONE has a story to tell. Its just whether you choose to share it or not.
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Happy St. Patrick's day everyone. Sláinte!