Wednesday May 27, 2020

By: Daena Ortenzio

During these unprecedented times where the world has turned virtual, having the skill set to effectively tell a story is  necessary to properly convey your message.  

Last week, John Dame invited the Triad Public Affairs Team to participate in his Vistage team meeting with Mikki Williams. Mikki has an extensive resume including being a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, an award-winning international speaker, and a Master Vistage Chair with Vistage International.  The webinar covered topics such as effective storytelling tips, how to become a more captivating public speaker, how to communicate virtually, and more.   

Regardless of your job title and what industry you are in, Mikki explained that we are all in the “Emotional Transportation Business”. Whether you are in public relations, lobbying, sales, marketing, etc., you need to effectively communicate a story. In business, we are all marketing some type of product or skill set and often times we open with statistics with the hope that the data will provide a good enough reason for people to be interested. Mikki said it best when she said, “You need to invest people through your story, so they care about your data”.  

Mikki provided a wealth of knowledge and information. Here are some lessons learned by Team Triad associates:   

 “When your job includes helping clients make effective presentations, it’s humbling and a bit scary to get coached up by a master like Mikki. But it’s important to be reminded periodically of some of the fundamentals that are essential to persuasion, such as the need to make an emotional connection in order to break through with data. It’s true that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

Rick Kelly, VP of Strategic Communications  

“Stories are vehicle for action. If you want someone to do something, you need to paint a picture for them that they can draw from. People will view stories through the lens of their own experience. Everyone will see something differently and from their own vantage point. That is ok because they are still connecting to what you are saying. “

Megan Dapp, Senior Associate 

“Mikki shared several jewels throughout her presentation. I particularly enjoyed the tips she shared on presenting effectively in a virtual world. Two of the points that stick out specifically are: One, to use your arms rather than just your hands when speaking as you can appear to be fluttering rather than making a point. Two, consider your physical frame as to which portions of you are projected to the viewing audience.  

It was really one of those moments of I know what I tell others to do but I don’t know that I always practice the tips myself.” 

Brandi Hunter-Davenport, Senior Associate  

“Mikki’s presentation offered a reminder that it’s okay to “get personal” in speeches. In fact, Mikki suggests that we make every speech personal. Knowing that there’s no better way to move or inspire someone than through creating an emotional journey, we need to talk why it matters to us – how our experiences shape the story. As Brene Brown says, “Storytelling is data with soul.”  

Jennifer Riley, Senior Associate 

This presentation provided numerous relevant points that will benefit Team Triad and our clients. We are looking forward to implementing the storytelling techniques we learned to advocate for our clients even more effectively.  Thank you Mikki and Vistage for including our public affairs team in this informative and interactive webinar.