To be an inspirational speaker, put on your Story Lens.
Updated: Nov 25
I don't think I would be a public speaking coach if it wasn't for the coach for whom I swam growing up. His pre-meet pep talks and award banquet speeches were incredibly inspiring. His power to motivate others planted the desire in me to learn to do the same.
Brad Hoy is a consummate storyteller, but it isn't just his skill at telling stories that makes him an inspiring speaker. It has everything to do with how he sees the World. He is one of the gifted few that instinctively sees human endeavors in the context of a universal pattern: problem › struggle › growth, problem › struggle › growth. This is both a pattern of life and the structure of story.
See The Pattern.
If you have a talk coming up, look for this problem › struggle › growth pattern in the lives of those to whom you'll be talking. What is the common underlying problem they must struggle against in order to grow? Where are they in the journey? Are you there to incite them to begin the struggle? Are they mid-struggle and weary from the climb?
See your role and theirs.
They are the protagonist of their story. You are their mentor. They are the imperfect hero. You are their wise and humble guide. Don't seek glory for yourself. Convince your listeners that a new bliss is theirs if they have the courage to face and overcome the problem.
See the connection between their endeavor and others.
Each endeavor is a metaphor for another. The struggle to break a long-standing swim record is like the struggle to climb a mountain. Your listeners' current struggle is like a struggle you have faced in past. The connections are endless. Look for metaphorical struggles, personal or otherwise, that will amplify and clarify the path ahead for your listeners.
For Brad the Story Lens is an instinct, but it can be learned. You endeavor to be a more inspirational speaker. Learning to put on a story lens is central to your struggle. It won't be easy. It starts with broadening your awareness of the story pattern in the lives of you and your listeners. Take that first step and you will be on the path to growth.