When you’re an expert at something, you ruin it for everyone

Reading the spines of the CDs in Mike’s bedroom, the thrill of anticipation I’d been feeling slid, instead, into confusion.

He and I had been dating for a couple of weeks. In London terms — certainly, in the mid-2000’s — that meant a lot more than it does these days. I often joke that when I lived in the UK, rather than dating, it was more like we had arranged matches — except, instead of the matches being made by your parents, they’re made by booze. You’d get drunk and then wake up in a relationship.

The getting drunk that Mike and I had done happened at a new bands live showcase. Like most of the people I dated when I worked in radio, he was in the music industry. An A&R Scout, it was his job first to go out to gigs every night looking for new bands to sign, and then to have opinions on the records being recorded for release. I was a radio DJ at a well-respected indie station. I liked him for his trifecta of being charming, funny and hot, but I can’t say I wasn’t also romanced by the idea of us being a junior-level, music industry power couple.

The first time I picked him up from his house before a gig, I was excited to look through his CD collection. Would we like the same bands? Would I learn from him about new bands I’d soon love? Would I find any guilty pleasures?? It was often my favourite part of any new relationship.

But as I flipped through the titles and artists, I was…

READ MORE

Easy hack to make your stories funny

You know how you’ll have one or two short anecdotes that you LOVE telling? Or if you don’t, I’m guessing you know someone who does and you’re sick of hearing them? I’m about to tell you one of mine. First: context. If you’ve read, listened to or watched any of the storytelling lessons I’ve given, you’ll know…

READ MORE

How to tell stories about other people

You have three options:

1) Get Their Permission

Where I can, I try and do this as a matter of course — and ALWAYS with former clients. Not least so that potential future clients don’t get spooked that I’ll share all their secrets! If the story subject matter something heavy, you could offer to send a draft to the person before you publish/perform it. But usually, a simple,

“Do you mind if I tell the story about [thing we experienced together] on Facebook/on my blog/in my talk?”

should do.

2) Change identifying details

As I’ve talked about before, one of my storytelling rules is “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.” By this, I don’t mean “lie to make yourself sound good,” but rather, “do whatever you need to do to make the listener feel the way you felt in that moment.”

You can also use it when you need to protect someone. There are a bunch of reasons why you might want to protect them. Maybe they…

READ MORE

I’m not using her real name, but I bet you know who I’m talking about

Mash and Sam laughing so hard they can't speak

“SHE would never do something like this,” I said, grabbing my napkin to mop up the glass of Merlot I knocked all over the restaurant table.

Sam looked at me, raising an eyebrow and turning down the corners of her mouth.

“I don’t buy it,” she shook her head. “She’s just a person.”

“No. She’s DIFFERENT.”

A few months earlier, Sam and I had been introduced at a self-development conference. Up until then, we’d each secretly harboured the idea that you couldn’t have a best friend you’d known less than a decade. But then: we met each other. Immediately, it was like some part of our brain (or soul) fused together. Back home — me in Toronto, her in Sydney — we spoke several times a week, in spite of the brutal time difference. And now, we were hanging out together in person for the second time, on vacation in Costa Rica.

We’d already spent four days oscillating between deep, tearful, heartfelt conversations and laughing so hard we couldn’t speak. We agreed on everything…

…except this.

“I’m telling you…

READ MORE

The most ridiculous public thing I’ve ever done (My story for the Good Life Project podcast)

Marsha proudly posing with her plastic medal- she won the MARSHATHON

A few years ago, a conference I was going to asked us to pitch an “inspiring story.” I thought, ​What the heck have I ever done that’s inspiring…???​ ​But then I thought, Oh, I guess there is that one thing, that I barely talk about because whatever, but I ​suppose​ someone ​might​ think of that…

READ MORE

How To Tell Great Stories — the MOST important thing you need to know!

Thumbnail of the most important video Marsha made - How To Tell Great Stories — the MOST important thing you need to know

If you want to be good at telling stories, there’s ONE thing you need to know above all else, and it’s what I talk about in this video.

Also, I dress up as Rocky, a hacky Parisian tourist and as everyone in The Graduate. So if you’d like to see (no exaggeration) the MOST IMPORTANT VIDEO I’VE EVER MADE , you’re in luck! Click on the play button here or read the transcript below!

READ MORE

Usually I’m in my element, but I was absolutely terrified

Woman working on a laptop

Twice in the last month, I’ve been on a Zoom call with someone doing the thing I usually PRIDE myself on being great at—and I’ve been a stuttering wreck. My next live storytelling show happens this coming Tuesday and, for the first time in months, I’ve been coaching storytellers for it. Most of the online…

READ MORE

“If I died, no one would notice for 3 days”

Landscape

Eleven years ago, on a Tuesday night in North-East London, I was running along small path by a big body of water when, in the middle of my torso, I started to feel sinking dread.

What was I thinking??

Even though I was in the city, all I could hear were a few birds and the wind in the reeds. The sun was going down. And I was starting to worry…

READ MORE

How to rescue a very public disaster (using my favourite psych fact)

DJ woman playing music at a bar

Standing in the booth, looking out at the ten people awkwardly dancing in a space that was built for 400, I felt sick.

I’m about to tell you one of the most important pieces of information I know. Then I’m going to tell you the rest of that story in order to prove it’s true and to help you hold it in your brain (because that’s what storytelling does!).

Here’s the fact:

The most important parts of any talk, blog, presentation or podcast is…

READ MORE

How to… run great workshops; switch to doing work you love; get testimonials and more — YYQ #13 Review!

Repair Center Sign

Yes Yes Questions is my quarterly live advice column, that anyone can join for free. The questions I answered at the last one (and in this blog/recording), are:

1. When running a workshop, what are the most essential elements to make it brilliant?
2. Do I have to prepare before I speak on stage?
3. How do I brag about myself online without feeling like I need a shower afterwards?
4. Do you ever feel like you have too many stories to tell, and do you have a formalized process to choose which ones you tell?
5. “Content batching:” do you do it? If so, how?!
6. How do I go from doing work I *don’t* love that brings in money, to doing work I DO love that also brings in money?
7. What’s the best way to get testimonials from happy clients?

The next one is next Monday, April 6th at 2pm EST and you can come along and get free coaching by popping in your details on this page. But in the meantime, listen to the audio of the last one (where I answer all those questions) or read on!

1. When running a workshop, what are the most essential elements to make it brilliant?

Almost all of the time, it depends on…

READ MORE

Page 1 of 9