Trainer Tips for Taming Talkaholism: Self-Editing and Strategic Storytelling

Trainer Tips for Taming Talkaholism: Self-Editing and Strategic Storytelling

In a recent post about adult learners as life-experienced, we mentioned the danger of being a "talkaholic" trainer. We wanted to expand a little on strategies for avoiding this pitfall.

There are simple remedies for kicking the habit.

Millbower wisely notes that "When we share every nugget of wisdom, our learners cannot discern which specific pieces of information are critical. They try to absorb everything and end up absorbing nothing.”

His solution? “Self-edit your expertise. Give them only what they need, and only when they need it.”

His other strategies for checking the addiction are right on the money, so if you suspect you might be afflicted, or even have a slight talkaholic tendency, check out his short article, Conquering Talkaholism.

Some particular pitfalls come in involving storytelling in your presentation.

Authentic storytelling is the juice that electrifies your topic and puts your unique stamp on the material. But check to see if you are using stories strategically. Strategic storytelling is the secret weapon of master presenters. To do it well takes some pre-planning—winging it is risky when it comes to telling a compelling story.

  1. Choose the right story. Does it drive home your learning point, making it more powerful and memorable? The goal is not that they remember your story, but that they remember the learning point illustrated by your story.
  2. Craft your story. Make every word count. Think mini-story, anecdote, vignette—the shortest form you can deliver to get your point across. Refining it with each telling takes too long and turns your listeners into guinea pigs. Write out your stories and edit dispassionately.
  3. Present powerfully. Use "invite statements" to bring your audience into your story, awaken the senses, use suspense and build tension.

How do you keep your words at their most productive minimum while presenting?