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Fascinating, but I’m not sure I could – can you?

June 27, 2024

Just this morning, I came across a fascinating event in Korea known as the ‘Space-Out’ competition.

The rules are simple – sit still and stay quiet for 90 minutes.

But here’s the catch. No checking your phone, nodding off, sleeping, laughing, singing, dancing, chatting, or drinking anything apart from water.

Your heart rate is checked every 15 minutes. You want a steady or falling heart rate to receive a higher score. The winner is chosen based on their heart rate score. Could you do it? I don’t think I could last 90 minutes!

Imagine a sea of people sitting silently for 90 minutes, no one checking their phones.

It’s a visceral moment, you are 100% present.

I too, have personally experienced this.

It happens every time my clients share a personal story. You can hear a pin drop silence in the room. A single laser beam focuses on the storyteller.

In a distracted, fast-paced world, this level of attention can feel like intense scrutiny. It’s not. It’s the enchantment of an audience in rapture. Okay, maybe I got carried away there. It’s more like an audience paying deep, singular attention.

At the end of the story, there’s usually silence. Your audience will look at you without making a sound, which is unnerving for new and even seasoned storytellers.

You’ll want to fill that silence. You will feel an urgent need to explain the story or make a weak joke (hello, anyone home?). Both of which are heinous crimes, up there with explaining a joke or kicking a puppy.

Instead, revel in the silence. This silence is a golden space because your audience is thinking about and feeling the power of your story. It’s swirling through their minds, perhaps sparking their own stories.

Your story is heading straight for their heart, bringing up emotions and attaching to their brain like Velcro.

It’s why I’ve found – and my clients affirm – that storytelling results are exponential (1+ 1 does not = 2; it’s more like 200).

In business storytelling, silence is the equivalent of a standing ovation. Your audience is clapping on the inside, in their hearts.

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