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Sometimes I think I became interested in storytelling because when you tell a story there’s no place to hide. As scary as it sounds, I also find this fascinating.

When you tell a story there’s an awful feeling of being exposed. You talk about something that people might not like, or don’t feel connected to, you relate something personal that people might not resonate with, and by definition that’s risky.

If your presentation is full of jargon and technical concepts, if it’s too complex or too long, you can always tell yourself “I can’t do it differently. People need to understand this, that’s part of their job. I’m not going to apologise for having to explain a complex problem. At the end of the day I’m talking to professional people”.

And that, I’m sorry to say, is hiding, because you’re blaming others. You aren’t holding yourself responsible for the quality and clarity of your message and your communication style.

We’ve all been there. At least, I’ve done it myself more than I like to admit.

If you choose to tell a story to explain a complex idea, you run a risk. People will see how you think about the subject, how you feel about it, your sources of inspiration, and the way you think.

They can hear your voice. They get a glimpse of who you are behind the mask.

And there’s nothing more scary than being seen.

Any time you tell a story you’re making a decision that feels risky.

And that’s a big decision.

No matter how much storytelling training you do and how many story techniques you learn, there’s only one decision that you need to make: Am I ready to be seen?

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