An observational storyteller lives in the third-person narrative. Overall, they maintain a clinical perspective on whatever it is that they are storytelling about.
Think about it. All of us have heard our fair share of observational storytellers. Our first experiences are courtesy of our elementary school teachers.
As a result, our professional goals often are biased when it comes to telling a story. First, the vision we have, as a professional who speaks, is Someone Who Lectures. Rather than becoming a sought-after Speaker Who Engages and Inspires.
In the age of Customer Experience and Employee Experience, consider the relevance and value of an observational storytelling style compared to an engaging and compelling storytelling delivery.
How would you rate yourself: are you an engaging or observational storyteller?
Let’s face it. We are tremendously honored when invited to address our colleagues at internal meetings, chapter meetings or national and international meetings. A lot of extremely hard work goes into these invitations.
However, our next step is what we decide to do with these opportunities. And, whether, or not, we embrace the default speaking style of our professional disciplines.
- In my work with STEM professionals and left-brain thinkers, the biggest conceptual hurdle to overcome is that only a lecture-style presentation will be perceived as credible by audiences of our peers.
- Just as often, this third-party narrative style is further reinforced by the format of peer-reviewed professional journals, to which our research is submitted for potential publication.
- Then, evaluate whether everyone in the audience is fully engaged in their experience of us presenting our data. Is our data more engaging than the points we try to make? (Or, do we default to “the data speaks for itself” mindset, which we feel lets us off the hook for providing an engaging presentation.)
One of the biggest conceptual hurdles I find in transforming an observational storyteller into an engaging one simply involves moving away from the lectern.
- First, because that lectern holds one’s presentation notes. And, at least initially, the majority of STEM and left-brain professionals often do not prepare for presentations by memorizing them.
- Then, because the speaker’s presentation often is accompanied by data presented on a PowerPoint deck. Also, the speaker’s presentation relies on reading the data off those PowerPoints rather than using these data as a launch pad to engage the audience in forward-thinking conversation of possibilities.
- Consequently, the speaker is not so much a speaker as they are a narrator. Thus, ponder the transformational value of the audience’s spending their time listening to that presentation? Other than, perhaps, receiving the professional value of continuing education credits.
Do peers talk about the relevance and value of your provocative professional presentations in the minutes, hours, days and weeks post-presentation? Isn’t it time to transform from an observational storyteller into a compelling and engaging one? After all, telling your story fuels your professional development and career trajectory.
To get started, move one millimeter beyond your current storytelling style. Contact me by clicking on this link. All it takes is a One Millimeter Moment™.
Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset® Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers Speaking Programs leverage engaging storytelling to catalyze your purpose-driven professional success. Become more visible, relevant and valuable not only to your employer but also to your strategic partners and clients. Babette is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of communication tools and methods, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Babette’s speaker profile is on the espeakers platform. Contact Babette here.
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