Of course, with a vlog about storytelling, I have to start off by telling a story.
A couple months ago I found myself in a grand hotel ballroom seated around banquet tables with young undergrads – mostly freshmen. I’ll leave the college they were from anonymous so as not to incriminate anyone because this story gets pretty embarrassing.
The ballroom was filled with large tables with 8 students and 2 alumni at each and they were grouped by shared interest. I was at an entrepreneurial table. It was a lot of fun even though I was the only female at the table. I encouraged the young men seated around me to encourage women in their classes who would be great entrepreneurs to seriously consider it. Entrepreneurship needs more of us, right ladies?!?
So, we start the meal to allow everyone to arrive and get comfortable. After the countless number were in their proper spots, the obligatory speeches began. I’ll never forget when one of the main college representatives got up to speak. He was your typical lecturer and talked with a very monotone voice. To make matters even worse, I could barely hear him because suddenly no one else was listening. People were starting to talk to one another. The clickety-clack of forks and knives hitting plates started back up. I had to strain and still all I could make out was, “Blah, blah, blah.”
I was embarrassed for the guy.
I’m sure he had some great things to say but no one was listening. He could have been giving us the cure for cancer but none one seemed to care. If no one is listening, why talk?
I’m a little shamed to admit that I made sure I impressed on every single young man at my table the importance of learning how to speak in front of people. They need to learn to capture and maintain their audience’s attention. As an entrepreneur, they are going to be demanded to do this all the time and their success at influencing an audience – whether it be investors, customers, or employees – will directly impact the success of their businesses.
Now storytelling has been all the rage for the past several years.
There are Ted talks. Here’s my favorite about giving speeches with over 1 million views… that’s a lot for a talk about 1 of humanity’s top fears. There are articles galore. When I google, “storytelling and entrepreneurship” I get 643,000 results. Why would I pick this as a topic to address? There’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said, right?
The reason why I chose it is because it’s that important. If the 643,000 results don’t convince you, I hope hearing from a genuine social entrepreneur will. Storytelling is a very key skill to master as an entrepreneur.
There are several ways to go about learning storytelling. Here are my favorite 3.
1. To get you on the right path, I made a little video series that recaps some of the best information out there about how to tell a great story, with some color commentary specific to entrepreneurs. Click here to access the FREE video crash course. It’s 20 minutes worth of info broken down into smaller chunks so it’s an easy way to jumpstart upping your storytelling game.
2. If you really want to get serious about becoming a better speaker and storyteller, I highly suggest joining your local Toastmaster’s club. Toastmasters in an international organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. I joined Toastmasters while I still working in a cubicle and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. You can find your local club at toastmasters.org. I know joining a club is quite a commitment but if you can at all do it, I encourage you to make it happen.
3. Look at examples in another great place to start. Here’s the best example I’ve seen lately. It’s a link to a 4 part story telling audio series from Rank & File Magazine. I guarantee you’ll be inspired in your own storytelling.
Now before you say, “I’m a great storyteller already,” remember how important I said this topic is. In any area, there’s always room for improvement. Plus, you might just hear something a different way than you’ve heard before so why not give the video series I put together a try. At minimum, you won’t have to wade through 643,000 search results to find mediocre content.