Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flubbing The Story: 10 Communication Mistakes We All Make (part 1)

Most conversations include at least one story. Some longer conversations include two dozen or more stories! When you tell someone a story, it's really important to you that the person you are talking to listens. It makes you feel good when they "oooooh" and "ahhhhhh." When people gloss over your stories you feel let down and sometimes hurt. Our stories are important to us and we want them to be important to others.

Everything you have become today is part of your life story, the sum of all of your stories about your life. It means the world to you when people are fascinated by your stories.

Remember when the little Texas girl, Jessica McClure fell in the well and got trapped? It took three days to get her out. The nation watched. Would she live or die? Could the rescuers get her in time? That happened in 1987, you don't even know Jessica but you probably remember it to this day! Each year millions of people die and experience incredible events. The story of Jessica was a great story and it unfolded right before our eyes. The media calls these kinds of stories, "human interest" stories. They sell news shows because people are engaged by the drama. Each of us has at least one human interest story to tell about ourselves. A time when you survived something dramatic. You overcame an illness. You persisted until you succeeded. You helped someone in great need and someone found out about it and told someone else who told the news and then you made the news. All of these are great stories.

Telling stories well and listening to them with fascination are two important factors in maintaining good communication. You'd think it would be easy to tell and listen to stories but this isn't the case and "flubbing the story" is the first of the mistakes we make when communicating.

There are 10 ways to flub a story.

  1. Be boring.
  2. Talk too long.
  3. Speak too slowly.
  4. Speak in a garbled way so that people can't understand you.
  5. Exaggerate when telling your story.
  6. Ignore feedback during your story telling.
  7. Respond to other people's stories with a story of your own.
  8. Poke holes in other people's special stories.
  9. Overtly brag about yourself just a little too much.
  10. Not telling your stories with intention.
Let's look at each of these 10 ways to flub a story and then let's talk about how to tell a story so people will listen, be fascinated and be asking for more!

To Be Continued...

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