Empathy and humour anyone? Business Storytelling lessons from Junior Master Chef

September 13, 2010

Business StorytellingDid you see the first episode of Junior Master Chef on Sunday?  All eyes were on Anna Gare – the new judge.  When Anna was introduced to her audience she said ‘I started cooking when I was your age and I could barely see over the counter’. Her audience laughed and immediately connected with her (I know I did).


Anna opened with something personal that demonstrated empathy for her audience.  Empathy, humour, connection all in less than 30 seconds.  Do you think you could achieve all three in the first 30 seconds of your opening when you make your next presentation ..and why would you bother?

Annette Simmons story expert says one of the first stories you need to use are ‘Who am I’ stories i.e. ‘What personal qualities make you a trustworthy person’.. in this context?’

Its wisdom rests on that old adage ‘people need to trust you before they trust your message’.  Anna’s use of self disclosure shows that it doesn’t have to be a long story that trawls all the milestones in her life (which can be boring and certainly wouldn’t have held her audience’s attention or worked on prime time TV).  It can be one sentence that shows us who you are, and tells the audience what they need to know about you…that is relevant to them.

Giant mental post it note here – this is not what I think my audience needs to know about me – which could be everything I did from year dot. Too many presenters make this mistake and do a condensed version of their CV.  Instead think about it from your audience’s perspective.  Determine what your audience needs to know about you to trust you and your messages in their particular context, and work on getting that down to a line or two.

Remember the first 30 – 60 seconds are critical and this is where your audience will be making its mind up about you.  So never ever waste that on house keeping (YIKES) that can come later. Instead work on the right opening sentence that demonstrates WHO you are ..and gets their attention straight up with empathy and humour…just like Anna did.  Go chef (sorry I couldn’t resist!).

Discover My Best Tip to Create A Captivating Story

Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a storyteller, or simply someone who loves a good tale, this video will unlock the key ingredient to engage your audience from start to finish.

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