Storytelling – Audiences Delight in “Ordinary” Stories

Jane Jenkins Herlong

Jane Jenkins Herlong

The art of storytelling is integral to effective public speaking. You do not have to have founded a Fortune 500 company, survived a perilous arctic expedition, or won a Nobel Prize to tell a good story – because audiences identify with and delight in stories drawn from ordinary life.

My friend, humorist, author, and speaker, Jane Jenkins Herlong may be a born storyteller. (Fortunately, if you are not a natural storyteller, the ability to tell a successful story can be learned.)  Jane’s humorous take on life’s challenges reminds us that wonderful, engaging, and instructive stories can be found in the fairly ordinary world around us. I share this story from Jane’s book, Bury Me With My PearlsEnjoy!


What Speakers Can Learn from Phyllis Diller

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, Patricia Fripp (Photo Courtesy of Richard Mayer Photography)

Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, Patricia Fripp (Photo courtesy of Richard Mayer Photography)

John Palmer was the founder of the National Speakers Bureau and before that a well-known band leader. Brian Palmer, his son and now the President of the NSB is known as one of the most creative and ethical professionals in our speaking industry. As part of a recent interview with Brian these were his closing remarks:

“’s one of my favorite stories from my dad. He worked as a bandleader with legendary comedienne Phyllis Diller, who was constantly working on her craft. He’d be off on the side of the stage, and she asked him to look at his watch and write down every time there was a laugh, and measure the amount of time between laughs. He believed that speakers should have the same understanding of their presentation flow. (more…)

Telling a Joke–The Dialogue From The Platform

Anytime you’re giving a speech, always remember it’s a conversation. Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we’re presenting a monologue. It’s easy to think of a speaker as the vehicle delivering a load of wisdom. In reality, every speech is a conversation. A two-way conversation with the audience.

It’s important to remember that this dialogue is not with the audience as a group, but rather a one-on-one conversation with each person. You’re speaking individually to each person in the audience. For example, you’re making eye contact with one person at a time. When you find your self mechanically spraying the audience with eye contact, you are actually NOT making eye contact with anyone. (more…)

Humor for Selling Products and for Selling Your Message

Twenty to thirty years ago, humor was commonly used to sell low-priced products. We remember Mr. Whipple squeezing the Charmin and Clara Peller asking “Where’s the beef?” Today, when you watch TV, you’re likely to see humor being used to sell automobiles. Over the years, advertisers have gained a greater appreciation of the value of humor for feeling good, building relationships and selling products. And so have speakers come to appreciate the more sophisticated value of humor for selling their message. (more…)