The one (fun!) thing you MUST do to become an excellent storyteller

It’s very important to understand THIS about the culture of the London Underground:

It’s not just that the passengers don’t talk to each other.
It’s that they don’t communicate IN ANY WAY.

Even when you’re smushed right up against your neighbour, your head jammed into the gap between their face and neck, the custom in London is to do everything you possibly can to act as if you are the sole occupant of that subway carriage. Casually check your phone. Read your book, even though it’s three inches from your eyes. Listen to your music on full volume, the tinny sounds trinkling out of your headphones. It’s surreal. But it’s What We Do.

On this particular morning, I had a seat – one of the advantages of living quite far from the centre. I had my headphones on, but there was no music, and the voice that I was listening to was quiet and calm – which made it even easier for everyone around me to imagine that I wasn’t there.

Suddenly, I gasped – and with the sharp in-breath, a loud, high-pitched noise escaped from my mouth before I clapped both hands over it.

Everyone in the carriage – EVERYONE – jerked their heads to look at me…

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V quick tip to avoid p*ssing off someone who just helped you out

A move keeps being made by people I’ve just favours for, that makes me want to stop doing them favours.

Running True Stories Told Live, my live storytelling show, I get a lot of requests to be put in touch with this person and that person. Because I <3 getting people tell their stories, I help these people out. I give them email introductions - and what happens next, is what almost always happens, and what REALLY annoys me: I get sucked into the email chain between these two people. Here is a very quick and classy way to get around that:

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Feeling called to do something inconvenient or scary? This one’s for you!

You know what it’s like:

You get offered an opportunity. Maybe it’s something big, like telling your story onstage. Maybe it’s something more personal, like having an awesome friend come to visit. You know you should do it. You know you kind of want to do it. But at the same time… it requires effort, and inconvenience.

Here’s why I think you should always say yes…

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15 Things I Learned From Moving Across An Ocean In My Thirties

Marsha Posing

Five years ago tomorrow, wildly in love and ready to leave London, I picked up my stuffed suitcase, and got on a plane, to move to Toronto.

While the romance didn’t last forever, we managed to spin our love into a best friendship (thank you, two years of couples therapy – worth every penny) and, as well as that, I’m left with profound, parental love for my ex’s kid, and unbridled devotion to this city, which feels absolutely like my home. I can’t imagine EVER wanting to leave.

So, in honour of my FIVE YEAR CANADAVERSARY, here are 15 things I learned:

(1) It’s hard. Like, really, really hard

When I was moving, so many people I told said, “You’re so brave!” and I would reply, “No I’m not! If I don’t like it, I’ll just come back!”. What I didn’t anticipate was that it would be really hard and I would still want to stay. About six months in, once the honeymoon period (“Wow! I really did leave all my problems in London!!!!”) wore off, I suddenly realised, “Oh. THIS is what they were talking about….”

(2) The hardness last about a total of two years, tapering at the end

From talking to a lot of other people, it seems this length of time is mostly universal. Putting this out there in case you’re thinking of moving somewhere.

(3) The things that you find hard aren’t the ones you’d expect to

Yes, I missed my mum and my friends, and change can be difficult. But what was hardest were the little things. Like knowing…

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How my patronising altruism WILDLY benefitted me

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t publicly admit having had this thought process. It shows that I can sometimes be an egotistical dick. But I like the end of it so much that I want to tell you.

I come to you from the train I’m taking from St Catharines (no apostrophe) back to Toronto. Last night I ran a workshop – my third in a year – for Brock University, on Networking That’s Effective and Actually Fun, for their entrepreneurial students in their BioLinc incubator.

One of the things I teach the students was how important it is to add value to people, long before you ask for anything.

An amazing way to add value is to thank people for teachings you’ve enjoyed, being specific where you can. Another is offering to make…

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How to Avoid Small Talk – with the Perfect Question (VIDEO)

My friend was once in a queue and overheard the man behind him loudly declaring, “You see, I’m the kind of guy who really doesn’t like to line up. I like to just get in and get out. But this? Not for me.”

I feel about him the way I feel about the kind of smug, annoying person who…

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This small tweak makes people feel amazing (and is more fun for you!)

“Even as you’re telling me that everybody does this, I’m thinking, ‘Not me, I’m different’ – and that’s an example of me doing the exact thing you’re talking about!” I wailed.

“I know,” he said. “We all do it. It’s really hard not to.
“But if you can move beyond it, to level two – that’s when you can make a difference. So many people spend their whole lives talking at or with people but without ever really just being heard, so to connect at level two is to give a gift and fill a fundamental craving we all have.”

My friend Aaron was teaching me something new, and I was flipping out.
One of my FAVOURITE…

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Want (your dream) people to become obsessed with what you’re doing? Here’s how to make them care.

I have a crush, a fierce one. And I can’t say anything to the person who I have a crush on. And it’s killing me.

(no pun intended)

By “can’t”, I don’t mean what’s ordinarily meant in this situation, “I don’t want to”. I mean I literally can’t.

Because the crush I have is not…

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Made a Dork of yourself in front of a VIP? Here’s how to deal. ASK (YES YES) MARSH (VIDEO)

Acting like a dork in front of someone we want to impress. We’ve ALL done it. There’s a reason why the video where I introduced you to your Dork Goblin – aka the spirit that comes down to possess you when you’re speaking to someone you want to impress, and makes you act the opposite of how…

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That time when all the networking advice I give got truly tested

I’ve spent quite a lot of the last month nauseous with nerves. What time I haven’t been nauseous, I’ve been feeling deeply moved.

I have a book coming out tomorrow. I know! It’s very exciting. Sort of. What I mean is, it is very exciting – I’ve been working on it for four years, it’s being published by Bloomsbury who also publish Harry Potter, and mostly, it’s MY NAME ON AN ACTUAL BOOK.

But… it’s also involved me having to do something that makes me deeply anxious: putting on…

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