Are you good at what you do, but not good at explaining it? Do you need to speak in front of audiences and want to improve your skills? Do you sell something that not enough people are buying? Does your organization need transformation? This post is for you.
I struggled with what to call this post. Some presentation trainers don't like to call themselves speaker coaches, and some marketing consultants don't like to talk about marketing, but if you're looking for help with public speaking or sales what else are you going to put as your search term? I'd like people who are looking for alternatives to traditional speaker training - or even sales training - to find this post.
As anyone who has ever really thought about this topic realizes, when you speak in front of an audience, you don't want to be boring, and one great way to do that is to involve your audience in an engaging way. The next step after that is no longer "presenter" and "audience" but a "conversation". The idea is that this is can happen in a large group setting as well as, say, if you're out for coffee sharing your passions with a trusted friend. When you talk about yourself or your ideas, how do you make them as exciting to others as they are to you?
For example Heather Gold, an expert in teaching this subject, calls her workshops "Un-presenting":
Everything I'm doing ... gets covered experientially not abstractly. It's really important -- especially for intellectual kinds of folks -- to learn to go 'inside out'. If I give you analysis and 'insights' first, the learning and experience are diminished.
Heather makes her students learn by doing - the best way to learn. And she doesn't call herself a speaking coach. But I am going to ignore alternative terminology for now and share a list of public speaking speaker training, pitching, and storytelling resources with you. Thanks to the folks on Jerry Michalski's terrific listserv for the input.
Heather Gold - Unpresenting - "Go from talking AT or TO a large group of people to talking WITH them."
Cathy Brooks - Story Navigation - "You will walk out with a well-defined personal “elevator pitch” that serves in business and can be modified for myriad uses/audiences.
Michael Margolis - Get Storied - "Your success depends on your ability to get others to believe and embrace [your] story" and his conference, Reinvention Summit, "a virtual summit on the future of storytelling."
Doug Lipman - Story Dynamics - "Stories can help people trust one another. They can lead to a sense of sharing without coercion."
Steve Denning - Radical Management - "Successful branding, marketing and selling depends on connecting and engaging with clients, which in turn depends on is founded on authentic storytelling."
Doug Stevenson - Storytelling in Business - "Transform your ability to motivate, inspire and connect with audiences, customers or employees."
If you like to meander, here are some relevant links about storytelling and unpresenting:
Leader's Guide to Storytelling - Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative
The Orton Foundation's "Heart and Soul" project (using story to strengthen small towns)
Community Expressions - enhancing community connections through storytelling
Josh Schachter's list of storytelling resources, through a digital photography lens
I'm looking forward to hearing your comments and additional links!