Unleashing the Power of Your Voice: A Journey with Laura Reid
Welcome to my latest blog post, where I’m thrilled to share the insights and experiences from a recent episode of my podcast, “Leadership Powered by Common Sense.” I had the pleasure of hosting Laura Reid, a remarkable specialist in public speaking and storytelling, who has dedicated her career to helping leaders find their voice and make a lasting impact.
The Art of Storytelling in Leadership
In our conversation, Laura and I delved into the critical role of storytelling in leadership. We explored why it’s not enough for leaders to simply deliver information; they must also be able to tell their story. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can make presentations more engaging and relatable, and it’s a skill that every leader should cultivate.
Laura shared her personal journey, which is nothing short of inspiring. Despite a severe stutter that once held her back, she found her voice through public speaking and storytelling. Her transformation began when she faced her fears and stepped onto the stage, leading to her victory in a storytelling competition. The positive feedback she received fueled her passion for helping others overcome their speaking fears.
The Mechanics of Effective Storytelling
During our discussion, Laura emphasized the importance of basic storytelling techniques. She shared her experiences in storytelling competitions, like the Moth-styled events and Toastmasters, where she sharpened her skills. Networking groups and associations played a significant role in her growth, providing platforms to connect with others and expand her business.
We also touched on brand storytelling, where Laura highlighted the need to identify the ‘villain’ and ‘hero’ in a brand’s narrative. She explained how empowering clients through storytelling and utilizing universal plots can resonate deeply with humans, motivating and inspiring teams.
Overcoming Public Speaking Challenges
Public speaking can be daunting, and Laura and I didn’t shy away from discussing its challenges. We talked about the use of filler words, pacing, pitch, and the importance of conversational delivery. Being intentional and practicing these elements can significantly enhance a speaker’s executive presence and audience engagement.
Laura offered practical tips for overcoming the fear of public speaking, such as identifying specific fears and expanding one’s comfort zone. She stressed the importance of remaining calm and authentic, which can transform nervous energy into a compelling presence on stage.
The Role of Intention and Prayer in Public Speaking
An interesting aspect of our conversation was the power of prayer and intention. I shared a personal story about a simple prayer that helped me before taking the podium, reminding us of the importance of connecting with the audience on a deeper level.
Laura added that loving the audience and seeing every speaking opportunity as a gift is essential. She shared her experience as a stand-up comic, where understanding the audience’s challenges and delivering a life-changing message was crucial.
Embracing Impromptu Speaking
Impromptu speaking is often the most feared type of public speaking. Laura recounted a story of a woman who faced this fear in front of 400 people. She advised speaking slowly, using pauses, and sharing personal stories to create a connection. Laura’s mantra is to have fun with speaking and to use humor to unite the audience, even when tackling serious topics.
I also shared a personal experience from the 9/11 tragedy, where I had to adapt to impromptu speaking during a crisis. It was a poignant reminder of the unexpected challenges speakers can face and the transformative power of sharing origin stories.
Final Thoughts and Resources
As our conversation wrapped up, I thanked Laura for her invaluable insights. She graciously shared her contact information, including her website, book details, and social media handles, for those eager to learn more about her work.
I hope this blog post has provided you with a wealth of knowledge on the importance of finding your voice and the art of storytelling in leadership. Remember, every speaking opportunity is a chance to make a difference. So, go out there, tell your story, and make it a great day!
Having grown up with a severe stutter, paralyzing public speaking fear, and social anxiety, Laura Reid, M.Ed., is an unlikely International Keynote Speaker, Speaking and Presentations Coach, and Stand-Up Comic. But that’s what makes her uniquely aligned to help others overcome their fear, find their voice, and tell impactful stories. An expert in storytelling, Laura has received numerous awards for her presentations and won several speaking competitions. Her bestselling book, “The Public Speaking Horror Show: 7 Secrets to Kill It as a Speaker,” was released on Halloween in 2023.
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