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The #1 Way to Connect with Your Audience

You’ve always loved a good story … ever since you were two. And we all really love a classic redemption story. For me, personally and professionally, it goes beyond the basic human interest appeal. As a business coach and a speaker coach, I rely heavily on the redemption story to connect with people … to illustrate … to guide … to inspire.

Last month, in my Life Lessons newsletter, I wrote about Tiger Woods after his improbable victory at the Masters at age 43 … with a fused spine. How he lifted himself from the depths of despair to get his life, his body, and his game back in shape.

I got more feedback on that article than any I’ve ever gotten. (Thanks for your nice comments!)

So, what I want to do now is piggyback off that article and talk to you speakers and wanna-be speakers out there about how a well-chosen redemption story can help establish your credibility and get the audience to like you and really listen to you. And to help you make your essential point in a way only a story can.

Now, if you’re NOT interested in speaking, you have my permission to sign off and go walk the dog.  But make sure you come back next month when we give you a critical insight into why people choose the service providers they choose.  Hint: It goes beyond being likeable and trustworthy.

Okay, speakers … you often hear the advice to start your talk with a story.  It’s good advice … as long as you choose a good one and tell it a certain way.

Not all stories are created equal.

You want one that illustrates a point … one that teaches a lesson.   You want one that gives your audience a genuine, unfiltered insight into who you are and what you care about, even when it isn’t your own life story.  And, if it IS your own, so much the better.

You want one that allows people to see themselves in the role of the protagonist … one that allows them to see possibility for themselves they might not have been able to see quite so clearly before.

You want a redemption story.

Here’s how they unfold.

Our heroine is doing okay.  She may even have a life that’s pretty close to perfect. Then, something happens, and she suddenly finds herself in a bad place …abandoned, broke, sick, or the victim of circumstances beyond her control.  It doesn’t really matter what it is.

She has a moment of truth and decides … no, declares … like Scarlett O’Hara … that, as God is her witness, she’ll never go hungry again … or whatever it is that represents redemption after her fall from grace.

We cheer as our heroine comes out the other side, not only whole, but better than ever!

And we take away several learnings.  Don’t give up. Get clear on what you want.  Do what you need to do to attain it. But most of all, like Tiger Woods, understand you create your own reality and darn near anything is possible if you trust yourself and the power of focused intention.

Life and business throw you a lot of curve balls, so almost all of us have a solid redemption story or two we can tell about ourselves, and we’ve ALL witnessed some inspirational dramas played out by others.  So, it’s not as if you have to stretch to come up with a good one.

Just make it real.  No hype … like the rags to riches, “I was homeless living in my car and now I’m making millions” brand of marketing copy.

But once you have a great story, success rests on how you tell it.

Especially if it’s your own personal story, you can’t hold back.  You have to be genuine. You have to be real. You have to be willing to “tell one” on yourself.  You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of a room of strangers.  No mask.  No protecting yourself.

That isn’t always so easy to do, but in this digital, disconnected, flash bang world, it’s what people are yearning for … a genuine human connection.  It’s what they’re craving.

Give it to them and you’ll set yourself apart as a speaker … as a person … and as a service provider.

Best Wishes,



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Meet Denise: Denise Hedges is a Business Development Coach and Speaker Coach for small business owners who want to be more comfortable, confident, and successful with their sales and marketing efforts. She specializes in helping them use speaking as a way to dramatically improve their results!