Recently there was a presentation that had been planned for three months on how to avoid getting scammed. Did it surprise the speaker that two days prior to the talk, her son experienced a debit card scam or that on the day of the speech, she awoke to have been scammed herself?
On another occasion, just two days before speaking to a flood-recovery group, and despite the fact that the speaker had already survived a county-wide flood the year before, she experienced an additional, mini-flood in her basement as the sewer "spewed" refuse water all over her laundry room. While not something she would have chosen, she admits, "It did make for a more passionate speech!"
Whether you, like me, have lived through fires, burglaries, car wrecks, tornadoes, death threats, ambulance rides, broken bones, surgeries and hospitalizations or other family traumas, your own life experiences will always be far superior to any other speech stories you can find.
Personal life stories enable you to communicate with audiences at a far more profound level than could be possible without them. Speech stories from your life deepen your audiences' introspection, allow for new personal commitments and inspire life-changing "ah ha" moments.
No speaker in his right mind would ever pick to be traumatized, even for the sake of professional success. But the reality is that speakers don't pick problems - problems just exist. A good speaker will turn those challenges into great speech stories that engage, encourage, and even entertain listeners -- because a little laughter always helps the medicine go down.
Next time you go through something downright awful, think, "Speech Story!" And you don't have to wait until you're on a stage to share your speech stories. Tell everybody you meet.
Marnie Swedberg is the webhostess of http://www.WomenSpeakers.com and provides free live weekly and ongoing archived member training for speakers via her site, http://www.LeadershipAttitudes.com