My feet were frozen to the ground as the flames licked up the side of the building. As I struggled to get free, I heard the pump engine rumble to life and the rush of water came through the hose. I advanced the line into the structure and opened the nozzle to begin attacking the fire. The steam from the ice cold water on the roaring flames created a spooky sight.
Suddenly I felt the ground move beneath me. It was like the floor was moving away from me, but not downward. Then I realized I was outside the building and it was getting further away. The ground was so cold from the outside temperature that the water dripping from the hose was freezing. In mere minutes there was a sheet of ice under my feet and I was ice skating backward propelled by the pressure of the water from the fire hose.
This was the scene of my very first training day in the Air Force fire academy.
Many people chat, many people ramble, many people try to make convincing points when they really have no point at all.
In “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” John Maxwell points out the value of telling a story. especially a story with a value or relationship to the audience.
Not everyone can relate to the story I opened with, but many will find the story fascinating just the same.
When you find yourself in a place where you must communicate a significant point and the audience must walk away with that point fully in tact, tell a story. Here are some simple points to keep in mind when using this technique.
1. Tell your own story if at all possible. There are books of quotes and anecdotes ripe for the picking if you are so inclined, but when you tell your story, something magical happens. You have the ability to build in the drama, the accents, the character value that is hard to develop when you read or retell someone else’s story.
2. Be entertaining. The story should have all the elements of a good movie or TV show with a plot, a few characters, a point of tension and a payoff. As you develop your story and rehearse it, look for these elements and highlight them on your page to make sure they are all included.
2. Be relatable, If you are talking to a group of mothers of preschoolers, a story about deer hunting will not likely be appealing and endearing. You might look for a story about raising kids, or a funny story about when you were a kid.
Stories always connect better than facts and statistics. Stories connect better when they are developed with the specific audience in mind. Stories will allow you and your point or message to remain in the audience’s memory long after you are done speaking.
When you have an important point to make, tell your story.