Sharon Sayler


Have you ever heard that old saying “Facts tell and stories sell?” 

Facts tell and stories sell is a saying I learned in sales class years ago and it’s true as far as it goes.

If you sell with stories, all stories you tell have to be relevant, not only for the audience, but in context to what you are selling.

Recently, I heard a speaker who was there to sell a mostly female audience his CRM software tell a story about his pregnant wife and how difficult it is living with a pregnant woman…. I can only assume he thought his story was funny, since he was speaking to a predominately female audience.

Too bad he wasn’t clued into knowing when you’ve “stepped in it” with an audience.

The way you know you’ve “stepped in it” with your audience is when the first of the three horseman of public speaking disaster arrive.

For our misguided storyteller, the first clue he missed was the look of shock in about 70% of the audience — the first horseman had just run away with the audience’s attention.

Shock can be seen, heard and felt from the stage. It is a pull back of the head from the neck with a slight inhale “gasp” sound and often an open mouth accompanied by wide eyes. A shocked audience is thinking; “Can you believe this guy?” You’ve momentarily lost the audience, but it’s still recoverable.

As he continued his story, confusion set in with many in the audience — the second horseman of speaking disaster…. A confused audience isn’t listening to the speaker anymore. They are too busy looking back and forth to the people sitting near them, hoping that someone will confirm their own sanity — as in “What did s/he just say?”

Once a majority of the audience has gone from confused to shocked, it’s almost too late…. For him, our CRM seller, it was too late, the third and final horseman of speaking disaster had arrived — an annoyed audience — and that horseman was leading many from the audience right out the door.

There are many ways to invite the three horsemen of public speaking disaster and telling a misguided story is one of the top reasons they show up.

A good selling story from the stage is short, to the point, relevant and expresses why your story is important to “them,” your audience in relationship to why you are there. To make a good story great, it should create positive feelings of “Bravo, that’s me,” “I want that too” or “That could be me.”

More on what makes a great stage story later. Now, it’s your chance to learn to read the audience and know when and how to reverse course when whatever you are doing isn’t working.

As one of the featured presenters at the South Florida Business Journal’s Crash Course in Public Speaking I’d like to invite you to join me on September 10th to learn more powerful speaking tools — even if you are a good public speaker — because how a good public speaker gets to be a great public speaker is in having plenty of tools in your toolbox, just like knowing when the three horsemen of public speaking disaster are riding your way!

Come join me, live and in person, on September 10th, 2015 for The South Florida Business Journal’s Crash Course in Public Speaking.

The Details:
Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015, 8:00AM-11:30AM

Location: Hyatt Regency Pier
2301 SE 17 Street Ft. Lauderdale FL 33309

Register here:

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Be sure and say “Hello” at the event and as always have a great week whatever your adventures.

To Your Speaking Success,

p.s. Please share this with those you know would like to be better communicators. We all have to speak in public sometime, even if you don’t chose to speak from a stage.

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