I’ve had the good fortune to know someone’s story and speaking abilities before nudging the person to be a speaker/storyteller. So today via email, I sent off a 10 tips list. As I started it I realized more details for my book. I am writing a book on implementing Safe Teen Driving Circles. You can see what they look like, by linking here: http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=489541
I recently checked our outcomes, well the SCVRJP outcomes regarding our victim impact panels. Spending time with the speakers has really paid off. Look were we are at:
Convinced me not to drink and drive – 97 % (strongly agree/agree)
Made me consider stopping or decreasing my drinks before driving – 98 % (strongly agree/agree)
Made me realize drinking & driving consequences- 98 % (strongly agree/agree)
Convinced me to arrange for alternative transportation- 98 % (strongly agree/agree)
My behavior will be different now- 96 % (strongly agree/agree)
My off the cuff-top 10 for speakers:
1. Big power in little details. Using the color of the car, the time of the year, the little memories you have, those details, really connect a person to the story. Since using local community members is part of ‘realization’ for teens, using local landmarks help people. I’ve known a speaker for years, she recently used the name and street of the funeral home. My mind immediately flashed to that intersection, I know I will think of this next time, and probably everytime I drive by.
2. share in the moment. if you feel nervous, just tell everyone. if your voice shakes, tell them it will for a minute.
3. don’t put yourself down. don’t minimize yourself or your story – a good speaker is one who knows their material – you know your story. resist the urge to say something bad about yourself as a speaker, when speaking
4. what is said from the heart, can be heard with the heart. Someone will always prepare the audience for you – the basic RJ and listening open will be suggested to audiences in RJ. If your heart takes your story down a path – that’s okay.
5. use the ball diamond method. Memory and visualization work as well or better than notes. Imagine a ball diamond you are familiar with. Spend a moment seeing the grass the brown in field, the four bases. Know what is at each base for you (1-intro 2-incident 3-impact and 4- reflection) so you tell your story from base to base.
6. breathe – speakers often feel if I am not making noise, I am not effective – not true. Powerful moments of silence drive the message home. They allow for the absorbtion moment. Take a deep slow breath, while the audience absorbs.
7. remember inside/outside can look different – look from person to person when you speak. avoid looking at the person who fell asleep. just know defense mechanisms rush to the outside when the inside is being churned. A person may slump, give off body language of “I don’t care” when in reality they are being very touched by the story.
8. be real, emotions are ok – you may get emotional that’s okay. Explain – “this gets to me”. Take a deep breath. Change of behavior by a change of heart – our heart change makes us emotional.
9. lead on the leader. I’m here, willing to help, support, guide, protect – you name it. Share your experiences with me so I can do my part – create a program that changes others.
10. Touch the paradox. Someone told me “You are doing God’s work”, I said I am not, it is the storytellers, the speaker. Know that this is life changing work, it’s huge. The paradox is to do it as a speck of sand on the giant beach. Humility. Also know that you are saving lives.