How to Speak so that People Remember?

in #writing6 years ago

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will not forget what you made them feel" - Maya Angelou

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One way that has existed since ancient education is Storytelling. That is how our ancestors pass knowledge and information. Centuries later, writing start to exist.

Stories bring people into your ideas, contents and brings them to see what you see. A very powerful tool but not many people know how to use it well.

Show your stories and people will remember how you made them feel.

My boyfriend and I attended a Mindvalley meetup titled "Master the Art of Speaking and Storytelling". The moment I saw the email title, I opened it and signed up immediately. The title is what I want to achieve.

I have difficulties in telling stories or speaking. It's like, when my colleagues asked "How's your trip?", I speak for few seconds and they've lost attention. I think the way I speak is boring, but when I think and write, it became interesting! In a way, I can tell stories better through writing 😁
By the way, I'm speaking and writing true stories, but depending on the way I convey, it can be boring or interesting.

The other reason they're starting to lose interest is, my fear of ostracism. Whenever I speak, my subconscious mind is judging what I'm saying and am super concerned if the other person likes what I'm saying also. Then I began to contradict with myself, it feels like I'm my own judge.

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One of the events that happened,

Tifa A: The teambuilding was really fun! The banana boat was scary at first but I enjoyed the ride and capsize
Tifa B: What if the other person doesn't like banana boat, or scared of water, or doesn't like whatever I'm doing? Is banana boat really that fun in the first place?

As a result, I started to speak in a softer voice, mumble and started saying nonsense like "Banana boat in the end is just so-so." Of course people would lose interest, because I, myself have lost interest in what I'm saying!!

Because of what I've experienced in the past, I signed up immediately, it's a problem that I've been facing since very young. And I hope I'll be able to learn and do something about one of my weaknesses.

Summary of the meetup in 3 lines,

Stories are relatable to almost everyone.
Listeners should evoke visual images and feelings from your stories.
Personal experiences make stories.

The Meetup

There were 4 speakers in total and they weren't revealed before the meetup. The speaker that appealed the most to me is Roopi Lakhiani. From her last name, you might have guessed she's somehow related to Vishen Lakhiani, the founder of Mindvalley.

Yup you're right, she conceived the child who conceived the idea of Mindvalley. She's Vishen's mother. And Vishen learned how to speak from her! Amazing!!

One sample video to show how Vishen speaks.

According to Roopi, there are 3 secrets in Storytelling.

1. Evoke an image.

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Listeners would be able to visualize and feel your story. They would empathize and laugh with you.

Roopi has 3 students who went on a pilgrimage. When they're back, she asked each of them "How's your pilgrimage?" Each of them answered very differently.

Student A:
It was a terrible trip!! We had to ride a donkey up a mountain and through the desert. It was so hot and we're starving most of the time. I would never go again!

Student B:
It was very beautiful but challenging at the same time. We had to ride donkeys to go through the desert but the scene was magnificent. I enjoyed the scenery and the journey a lot. I would go again.

Student C:
Hahaha, I had a fight with a donkey! Like they said, we have to ride donkeys to go through the desert but this particular donkey is very stubborn. He doesn't let me ride him! So, I stared at him, and he stared back at me. I put both my hands at my waist, glared at him and shouted "Turn around and let me ride you!" The donkey snorted and turned around. Quickly, I ran and jumped on him, in case he changed his mind, hahaha. It was really funny!

Which story could you relate better?

Student C's story right? Why is that so?

Because you can visualize what student C was seeing. You could feel how happy she was when she managed to ride the donkey. This is what it means showing your story, by saying visuals and feelings in detail.

Imagine yourself watching 2 hours movie and you describe that movie for 2 hours, saying every single detail that you've seen/felt. This way, your friend is as good as he's watched the movie.

2. Start with an end in mind

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Your story conveys a particular message. For example, the teambuilding story I've written is to show you why art of speaking and storytelling matters to me, so that you know where I'm coming from, and you'll feel more connected to my purpose.

Your story could belong to you or someone else. Doesn't really matter.

What I'm practicing is,

  • Start with a goal first. What is it I want to achieve?
  • Select stories that will fulfil those goals.
  • Show them.

Easier said than done, I'll give you true stories of what I've been practicing to show you a better picture.

In my recent post, I wrote about Fear of Ostracism causes Loss of My Voice. My goal is to highlight a severe consequence of fear of ostracism, that has happened to me. Instead of me telling you statistics and facts, I bet you would feel more connected to me by showing you my personal story.

I decide on what I want to write and choose which of my personal stories can "show" you the points.

3. Bring them into your personal journey

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This is the part where a story becomes a show-me story, not a tell-me story. It becomes the most powerful when you show them your personal story.

Student A and B is a tell-me story. Student C is a show-me story.

The moment your listeners start to visualize what you're talking about and they empathize you, you've brought them into your personal journey. If you laughed and they laughed and if you cried and they cried, you brought them in.

For me, it is the level that I want to achieve. Where my personal stories can touch your emotions.

I've discovered a very simple and effective way to "show" your story.

Imagine your story as a pictionary. Capture different moments as a picture and learn to describe what was happening, who is standing where, what were you doing, how did you feel, and more.

If this is too difficult to begin with, find a random picture. Try to describe it to another person and he'll guess what were you trying to say. As simple as an apple.

How to Speak so that People Remember?

  1. Evoke an image
  2. Start with an end in mind
  3. Bring them into your personal journey

So, tell me. What are your tips in in speaking so that people remember? Comment and share.

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True that people will remember what you told them if you tell them in a way of a story. People will also not forget what you say to them if you talk about something they are interested in. For example, if you tell them about your travel experience, they will not forget about it if they are traveler. ALso, if people ask questions from you, it means they are interested in what you are saying.

This is a really well written and thought of piece Tifa.

You are on fire! Keep it going.

You're right, speaking and writing portion of storytelling can be two very different things.

Building a case to visualise is definitely number one.

But I've been told, I have a way to evoke emotions in my writing and I guess in my speaking too. Building up around a feeling is another powerful storytelling....which uses imagery too....but one that pegs onto emotional cues.

Thank you so much for reading and encouraging me @kchitrah

Yeah, that's why storytelling is powerful. It aligns the listener's and speaker's brainwaves on the same frequency. I'd like to hear how you do it Chitrah :)


I honestly am not sure. I know how to do it....I need to sit down, observe and de construct a little to see how it is done.

Personally my process is bringing a memory to mind, keeping that memory in the foreground and feeling it....the emotions....and I would describe it...or write about it in a way that portrays that feeling. Dunno if that even makes any sense . Hahaha.

Yea, yea, it makes sense to me. But how do you describe it? How do you write about it in a way that portrays that feeling?

Hmmmm ok now I really do need to deconstruct the process. Will get back to you on that ya Tifa xx

Thanks!! In the meantime, I'll try to find patterns in your posts XD
It's good to deconstruct what you've learned, so that you're aware how you do it and you can teach people to be as great as you are :) let me know if you see something with your fresh pair of eyes.

It is a style.... But, many good writers out there have their own flair and uniqueness.

One thing I remember doing as I was growing up, is paying attention to how writers put words and string sentences together....picking up on various little stylistics imprints along the way.

I honestly really like Rowling, ... Not up there with the literary genius of the world....but her storytelling and relatability is just phenomenal. I read each book at least three times over the years . And with any movie...I sometimes enjoy watching it again to observe the storytelling and building of characters. ... Looking for the finer details I guess.

But that is a long term habit really. The process ... Coming soon :)

Yes sure!! If I get something, I'll be sure to tell you, that is if I do get something hahaha

Wow, you read 3 times for each book?? Amazing! Writers are avid readers also right? Like you :)
I guess you're a Harry Potter fans as well?

Nice..... public speaking is both and art and science... one needs to master the art of captivating the crowds and the science of human behaviours... Also, some are gifted speakers while some are never meant to hold the mic. One thing that is also important is the topic of the speech.. if it is funny, provocative and something that the audience can relate to, then it is easier. On the other than, if it is dry and un-sexy topics, then it is far more challenging

Hey @orangila, thank you for reading :)

I guess public speaking is a trainable skill, even if you're damn terrified but if you choose to, determined and keeps practicing, even if you're not meant to hold the mic, you can do it.

The topic is very interesting. It's far more interesting to take on a dry, un-sexy topics and make it fun! :)
For example, statistics hahaha.

Haha... Statistics is fun once you get the hang of it.. I know because I have a math degree and I had to take quite a few statistic courses...

Lol I hate statistics... not the numbers but the teachers' method for statistics are so boring.. Can you teach or present statistics in an interesting way?? ^^

Like all science subject, we need to apply it to our real life to remotely make it interesting. For statistics, apply it to someone you love, be it gambling or investing. Most interesting subject about statistics is rules of probability and actuarial science...
Think of chemistry in classroom, it can get boring.. but apply that to baking or cooking, then it instantly becomes more interesting.

Wow! You're one of the amazing people I know that loves actuarial science! Hmm, it's actually true! Suddenly boring subjects become so much more fun!

Teachers should use these methods lehhh :D
I wonder why they don't??

Well, I do train and mentor others... so I learn how to see from their perspective and have to find what interests them... actuarial science, like all fields of knowledge is important. And even better if you know how to apply them in real life, it will make things very easy.

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