Business Storytelling for Speakers

May 7, 2015

A mysterious illness

It’s the late ‘70s, and Francis and Hazel are recent immigrants to Canada and first-time parents. Their 1 year-old baby boy is sick and the doctors don’t know what to do! Their son has a high-grade continuous fever, with swollen lymph glands in his neck, and no other symptoms. The doctors think it could be meningitis — but the treatments are ineffective. For weeks, the baby’s fever continues to rage. The doctors are baffled and are unable to help. At this point, can you imagine what Francis and Hazel must be going through as first-time parents? How would you feel?

Then one day, something changes.

Connecting the dots

The skin on the baby’s hands and feet begin to peel off like a rubber glove. The insides of his mouth starts to rip apart like rusted metal. His lips and his tongue turn as red as a strawberry.

For the doctors, these are important clues. They had just attended a medical conference where they heard about the exact same symptoms. At this conference, a speaker discussed a rare new children’s illness called Kawasaki disease. Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in blood vessels, which can result in fatal aneurysms in the heart or coronary arteries.

The doctors remembered what they had heard and quickly administer a new treatment to the baby. Francis and Hazel are incredibly lucky. Their son will survive! It’s the late ‘70s, and the first known survivor of Kawasaki Disease in Canada — is me!

An original story

Today, no one knows what causes Kawasaki disease, though it’s the leading cause of acquired heart disorders in children. But over 30 years ago, someone spoke at a conference. They shared their own experience with the symptoms and the treatments, and this saved my life.

My doctors, my parents — and a speaker — saved my life!

This is the biggest reason why I speak, and why I help others give presentations that get results. And I can help you, too!

Business lessons in storytelling

If you’re an expert, an employee, or an entrepreneur — you, too, can impact lives. Your message can make others think, feel, and act differently.

Your stories can reflect the emotions and experiences of your audience. If they can see themselves in your story or begin to identify with what happens, they will start to care. Ultimately, your stories can immediately transform facts and knowledge into something more personal and meaningful for your audience.

All great superheroes have an origin story. All great leaders can present a possibility in a story. What’s your story?

Image credit: by Seattle Municipal Archives, via flickr.com.

Author

Ron Tsang

Ron Tsang helps entrepreneurs give compelling presentations to clients, employees, and investors. He has empowered his clients to understand and master critical areas of public speaking since 2004. Ron has an MBA from the University of Toronto and an HBA from the University of Waterloo. Find him on Level Up Workshops and folllow @rhtsang.