Mike and I were driving my mom’s car home from Florida. It was 13 hours into the drive when we decided to put on a movie that we could listen to while driving. That movie led me to this blog. It’s not what we see, it’s what we hear that makes the movie. In one scene an expecting mother has a miscarriage and although nothing is said, the music takes us through the story. The music helped us connect emotionally, allowing us to personally interpret the scene. Mike and I had been through a miscarriage, so our thoughts turned to that time in our life. For others, they may have never experienced a loss such as this, they might feel empty without knowing how or why.
The point is that as speakers, it is not just want we say, it’s what your audience thinks, feels, and experiences. It’s what your audience hears and how they interpret your story.
Next time you write a speech, consider all senses. What did you feel at the time of the event, what did you hear, taste, smell. Most importantly what do you want your audience to feel as a result of your story?
Here’s an example of how to take your audience through a story of senses…of emotion.
“If you had been with me the year my mom had her 80th birthday, you would have seen my excitement when mom said, “How would you all like to spend my 80th birthday with me in Costa Rica?” Yes, of course, it was one of my dreams. On the left side of my dream board, where you would see an image of a women zip lining in Costa Rica.
On August 8th, I woke up after a restless night because of the incredible excitement I had for this day. My family, all 15 of us, took the rickety old bus to the zip lining base camp. It was there we were suited up with gloves that smelled like rotten old sweaty socks, taped with duck tape due to the wear in the palm. We had gear thrown on us to keep us safe, not quite sure how safe. We were now ready to go.
My dream was about to happen, about to come true. As we moved up to the line, my excitement grew, but not with fear. I then shook and giggled. For others in front though, the fear had set in. The one young boy says to Hosay, “What if I fall?” My sister-in-law asks, “What if I don’t stop and hit that tree?”, and then another said, “What if the line can’t hold me?”
Hosay then looks at me (I must have looked nervous), because he tells me that, “It’s ok, ma’am, it’s ok fun”. What he didn’t realize was that I wasn’t scared of zip lining, I was scared that zip lining would not live up to my expectations. I was scared that I was going to be disappointed.
10 treetops later, I landed. I ran into my mothers arms and cried, ”Mom thank you for living my dream with me today”. Don’t let fear get in the way of your dreams, but let your dreams be your journey.
Okay, were you able to interpret the story? Did you see, the smell, the feeling, the visual and the touch? A speech includes stories, and stories include senses. Double-check your stories to ensure they have the senses.