Yesterday Australia lost a wonderful storyteller, Max Walker.
He was a well-known cricketer, author, Australian legend and personality, however I’ll remember him most for the stories he told. I was privileged to attend the Professional Speakers Convention earlier this year where he gave a keynote speech. It was one great story after another. He held the audience in the palm of his hands as he spoke with an infectious smile and laughed and acted out his stories showing his larrikin personality and his passion for entertaining an audience. It was as if he was giving a grand performance and we were privy to the passion and love of life he shared in each and every word and story.
I felt I was the only person he was sharing his stories with. I’ve heard a lot of stories from speakers and Max was a stand out as a professional and a master of the art of storytelling.
Some points I learnt from listening to and chatting with Max:
- Be yourself – show your personality
- Smile – and talk with a smile in your voice
- Tell your stories with passion
- Love your audience
- Be prepared (learn and practice your stories so you can master your presentation)
- Do your best – whatever your best is right now, that is perfect
- Have fun
- Be present – keep your focus, people will notice if you are thinking of other things and not giving them your full attention
- You don’t need to be a well known personality to make a start, anyone can talk to groups, share their stories and make an impact
- Believe that your stories will have a positive impact on one person, or many people in your audience, so keep the stories authentic and heartfelt
- Tell your stories by painting pictures with your words and actions
- Learn to bring humor into your stories by laughing at yourself
People remember stories.
We all have stories we can share with our audience on social media, in a blog, (video or written) when we present a workshop or training, a keynote, during a phone conversation with a prospective client or any other time you want to build a great connection.
You can choose how much or how little you share. They are your stories and there is no right or wrong. One of the great things about telling your stories is that you can remember them. Your stories are also your point of difference as no one else has your stories; they are your stories and your experiences.
I also know that Max practiced his skill as a storyteller. If you are comparing yourself to Max or any other speaker or storyteller and you believe you are not as good as them, make a start. Every great speaker and storyteller had a first time telling his or her stories. That point alone is a great reminder.