I was conducting immediate training in midtown Manhattan just two days ago, working with a bunch of senior executives at a major media company. And I said to one of them, I said, Sam, I need you to sit in the hot seat. I'm going to interview you. And he's like, what? No, no, I just want I'm here to take notes. I'm like, Well, how are you going to learn?
It's not a note taking kind of a course. Please just come here just for one minute. Now. No, I don't think so. He starts to stand up. I'm like, Sam, please.
I'll pay you $1,000 if you just sit in the seat. Now, I got him on, ask them a few questions record it, played it back, critiqued it. And we did this several more times during the session. By the end he said, Well, TJ, this was so helpful. Thank you. I feel like I've improved a lot.
Wow, did he not want to be there at the beginning? So what I just do there, I told a story. Is it a true story? Yeah. Did I I have to rehearse it and refine it a whole bunch now, actually just thought of it a moment ago, and it's the first time I've ever told it. But I told the story, because I do think it's an important point for you to know.
Everybody is nervous about communicating, especially in certain situations out of their comfort zone. They may be fine talking one on one, but put them in front of a video camera, and it's very different. But the real lesson here is the number one thing great communicators do consistently is they use stories to illustrate every single point that's important to them. We as human beings are hard wired to tell stories and to remember stories. We are not hardwired to remember, facts or bullet points or a whole bunch of text on a PowerPoint slide. We just aren't.
So I realized that you consider yourself now a beginner when it comes to your communication skills. The easiest way to make everyone think you're great and advanced and not a beginner is to tell relevant, interesting stories to your audience that will make your messages come alive, and have them understand them and remember your messages. It's not telling a story just to be funny. It's not telling jokes. The story I just told you. It's not funny, but it's real.
It's true. And it had certain elements and had a setting and had a character that had a problem that had some emotion and had a little dialogue, and it had a resolution with a point to it. That's all you need with a story. And it took less than a minute to tell it doesn't take long to tell stories. Here's the thing I found remarkably true. It doesn't matter if it's someone with beginner communication skills, or someone has been communicating professionally for decades.
Is that horrible people indicators never tell stories. I'd love to teach it. But there's no time I got to go through all the facts and data. great communicators consistently illustrate every single important point they have with a story. So it's fine to be a beginner. When it comes to communication skills.
It's really, really easy to trick your audience and the people you're speaking to clients, customers colleagues, into thinking you're an old pro at this, that you're completely comfortable with it and that you're good at it. The key is talent tell a story and doesn't need to be fictional. In fact, it shouldn't be fictional. Just recount actual conversations you've had with real customers, clients colleagues, sometimes it may be appropriate to recount a story with a family member, as long as the message resonates and is important to your audience and important to you. So That's the assignment. Now I need you to think of you'd like to write it all out, but just think of a story for each one of your five main message points, and then come up with just a couple of words to remind you of the story.
So you can just say it. That's the assignment. Go ahead and write it in the discussion section right now.