Excelling as a Storyteller

How to Open Hearts, Inspire, and Lead Change Using Stories

Facts stimulate the intellect; stories open the heart!

No question about it. There is a decent place for facts.

Some undertakings require getting the facts straight before we do anything else. Or else we will mess things up.

If you’re a fact-based speaker, you may attract people. But, people only come if they’re in desperate need of the fact you’ll be sharing.

Even when they come, they’re only present intellectually. Their hearts could be closed or even absent. They’re not emotionally engaged.

Do you know what that means? They’re not all in. It’s unlikely they respond to your call to action.

Then, it doesn’t matter the number of attendees you attract. You failed as a speaker!

On the contrary, if you’re a story-based speaker, your audience comes with their hearts. They’ll give you a chance to open it. They stay present and emotionally involved throughout your speech.

Wherever the heart is, where the mind and the body will be.

What does that mean to you as a speaker? There is a high chance your audience will respond to your call to action.

Inspiring and leading people to your call to action and ultimately changing their mindset, behavior, and/or decision takes open hearts…

All greats in every industry are storytellers.

A storyteller doctor has a better chance to heal than a fact-based doctor who over-relies on his prescriptions alone.

The storyteller doctor has a high chance of opening the hearts of his patients. As a result, they take his advice and prescriptions seriously. They follow through with the recovery plan till they fully recover with no or minimal follow-ups from the doctor.

Likewise, great leaders inspire their followers to do extraordinary things.

All the great ones we all admire were great storytellers who opened the hearts of their contemporaries.

Because they did, they overcame the dire challenges their generation was facing and tapped into opportunities that presented themselves.

Regardless of where you’re in life and in whichever industry you may be operating you, too, can be a great storyteller if you’re serious about it…

If you desire to open hearts, inspire, and lead change in your community or organization, you should excel as a great storyteller.

Pause for a second. Assess where you are. How do you scale yourself from 1 (I only tell facts) to 10 (I’m a master storyteller)?

If you scored below 8, well, you should take storytelling seriously, as if your career, leadership, and business depend on it, because it does!

By the way, there are different types of stories, and you should have a storytelling toolkit where you store as many stories as possible.

For today, let me just pick one of the story types- Origin story.

Masterful speakers have an origin story. The story reveals how it all began. They tell it again and again. It is their signature story. It connects them with the right clients, partners, and sponsors.

What is your origin story?

My origin story began when I was a naive and lost teenager, like most teenagers 😊

Out of nowhere, when I least expected, a teacher in my village lent me two books that transformed my life and propelled me to where I’m today.

If you don’t yet know my story, I was born and raised in one of the poorest villages in Ethiopia. No one from my bloodline ever graduated from college. Considering where I began my journey, where I’m today is short of a miracle. It is a typical underdog-to-topdog story…

I wouldn’t have made it this far and achieved the success I have had so far if it weren’t for those books. I’d have died by now like many of my peers, or at least, remained where I was, and you wouldn’t have heard of me at all.

If you don’t know my origin story and those two books, click here and check out this blog.

When you read that story, you either:

  • Relate with me or not;
  • Get inspired or bored;
  • Decide to stay connected with me or run away…

Either way, it’s fine with me. Why? Because there are over 7.7 billion people on this planet.

It’s impossible for all people to relate and resonate with me. I got over it a long time ago; I’m not a savor of the world.

Those who don’t relate with me, they’ll find someone with whom they relate to. It is not a big deal.

Qualify people all the time. You should know who needs you the most at a given time.

You don’t have unlimited time and energy. You should dedicate your limited resources to those who resonate and relate with you.

How do you qualify the right people you should work and partner with? Simple. Share your stories, especially your origin story.

It’s a win-win. By sharing your stories, you’re helping the right readers, audience, clients, and partners easily find you.

Otherwise, you (they, too) will be miserable if you try to serve ALL using your passion, uniqueness, talent, and experience.

Of course, don’t stop at your origin story.

Share other relevant stories to open hearts, inspire, and lead change in the lives of those who are meant to be served by you.

If you need help identifying, articulating, and sharing your origin and other stories when you write or speak next, and need some help, click here and apply for coaching.

If you would like to read my recent blog on the 3 common mistakes speakers make, click here and check it out, and let me know what you think…