5 Lessons I Learned in Toastmasters About Communicating



“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”



I am slowly working through the Toastmasters Advanced Manuals. Having recently completed the Storytelling Advanced Manual I paused to think about what I had learned about communicating.


These are the lessons I have learned so far.


1.People Want To Hear Stories


Stories are a very familiar way to share ideas. Stories have the ability to immerse us in another reality where we learn and are entertained simultaneously. They have familiar structures and plots that we can easily relate to. Stories transcend cultures, time and space. We can easily adopt stories to relate to any audience in terms they are familiar with.


2.Understand What Your Purpose Is


The most important human ability is to be able to communicate with each other. This is how we relate to each other and storytelling is one of the ways we do this. Before telling a story we need to know what is the idea or message we are trying to convey to each other.


Try to formulate your idea in one sentence in a way that will make sense to anyone who will hear it. Use this one idea as the basis of your storytelling.


3.Create An Visual Image


We live in a visual world and your audience needs to see the picture you are painting with your storytelling. When telling your story think about what the audience sees or imagines as you tell your story. Ask yourself is this world you are intending your audience to see? Tailor your story to an image that supports your storytelling purpose.



4.Stories Teach Us About Life


It would be a dull world if we heard no stories. Stories are people’s way of communicating with each other. With our stories we help each other make sense of the world around us. Ever since we were children the stories we heard helped us learn about where we came from and where we are heading to, and everything in between. As adults we use stories to communicate complex ideas or problems.


5.Stories Create An Emotional Response


Stories are a way of communicating complex human emotional responses. In a story your audience can relate to the hero and care about what happens to them on their journey. When your audience cares about your characters they start to buy into your purpose.


Moving On


“Eloquence is a painting of the thoughts.”

Blaise Pascal


Communication is all about having the ability to relate your ideas to your audience. There is no point in having the best idea in the world if you have no means of communicating it to your audience. Storytelling is a way of packaging your message in a way that makes it accessible to your audience.