Andrea Sampson is an Executive Speaker’s Coach, Communication Expert, and Business Strategist. She has held leadership positions with multi-national advertising agencies, advertisers, and major brands. Using her unique thought leadership expertise and her training as a TEDx Speakers Coach, she now provides Communication Coaching and Consulting expertise to Leaders, Experts, and Changemakers.

 

She has founded Talk Boutique in 2016 to create impact by contributing positivity to the negative social narrative using storytelling and conversation creation as her mediums.

In this episode with Andrea Sampson, we talk about storytelling, thought leadership, the importance of being understood, the use of voice, and how to end your talk or presentation boldly.

The importance of being understood

According to Andrea, one of the top things people struggle with is being understood. “They are good at the data, the facts, and why things are the way they are, but they are not so good at making the rest of us understand, for example, what it is they do but also more importantly why that’s important,” she says. 

We want to know how it will impact us, how it will impact millions, and how it will impact our families. Storytelling is one of those things that help us with that.

Be a better storyteller

Andrea says that she breaks down storytelling into three components – the What, the How, and the Why.

The What is your topic and what you work on, The How is the way you are differentiating and activating your What. The What is easy to do, the How is how it is personal to you – it is your idea and unique point of difference.

The Why is the piece that most people miss – it is the impact that it is going to make on others. It is the place where the speaker and the audience meet and where the passion comes together.

The second thing Andrea mentions is the use of voice. You have to speak as a way to draw people in, like telling a child a story, even with going into different characters.

The third piece of advice is to make sure your body is telling the same story that your voice is telling. Our bodies tell a story within itself and we have to have a fully congruent story that the audience connects to.

Use of voice and how to end your talk boldly

Andrea tells us that we have many different ways in which we can vocalize – pitch to tone to texture to volume. It is useful to hear ourselves in order to understand what we are saying and not only what we are trying to say. We are often not paying attention to how we are saying something while we are saying it.

Andrea tells us that so few people use pauses. Some white space in sound gets everybody’s attention and it helps you engage your audience by simply pausing. It also allows you as a speaker to catch up.

She also advises to put a pause before and after you say your statement of purpose at the end of your talk. This way you are really cueing the audience by making that impactful statement and then letting it hang. Afterward, everybody would now reflect on it. It is a really powerful moment to own the stage like that and hold the moment for a 3 to 5-second pause.

Why become a better storyteller

Andrea says that it is worth it simply because people do it naturally. It comes into brain science, as stories are predictive and associative – our brains get excited to think “Oh, I think I know what is coming“. 

The second reason is that stories are associative. “So when we have a complex idea that we are trying to get people to remember, wrapping it in the story is a great way to get them to remember it – we are giving them an association,” Andrea says. 

When we hear a story our brains light up. They are exciting and help us connect, be engaged, and understand.  

Andrea tells us a Venn diagram she uses which has Story and Idea intersecting, and when we wrap it up in a Story, we create Conversation and Engagement. “Those stories that are wrapped up in ideas now get activated when you add conversation” she adds. 

Shortly said by Andrea, stories are like Trojan horses for ideas, the idea is coming along for the ride.  

Why should you become a thought leader

Andrea has a strong opinion on why she thinks it is important to push yourself to become a thought leader. Our world is going through a lot of change and possibly we are even at the dawn of the 4th industrial revolution. We are reconstructing ourselves and what we know from the foundations and the world needs people to step up as thought leaders. 

We all have expertise and many people think that they cannot be thought leaders or that what they have to say is not important. Andrea disagrees because she thinks sensemaking is a thing that helps us all. 

If one of us makes sense, a bunch of people get it as well. Furthermore, we have to hear an idea from several different perspectives. “When you sense make for some, you sense make for many,” Andrea says. It is important to be a thought leader from your perspective. 

Resources

You can connect with Andrea Sampson on her LinkedIn. Check out her company Talk Boutique here.

Listen to the full episode!