Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling’

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Saturday, May 21st, 2016
einstein

“Yes, I do own a comb. Why do you ask?”

“Do I not destroy my enemies by making them my friends?” – Abraham Lincoln 

Can you remember the last time someone made fun of you because of some physical characteristic that you had? None of us are immune. Aren’t we all too tall, too short, too fat, foo skinny, too young, or too old?

This type of comment seems funny to the critic, but it can sting the recipient.

How should we respond to this type of criticism?

Step 1) Look deep inside yourself and acknowledge the fact that, yes, you do have quasimodo_03certain physical characteristics that make you distinct. (Maybe not as distinct as Quasimodo, but still distinct.)

Step 2) Use self-deprecating humor to deflect criticism.

There is great power in looking inside of ourselves, acknowledging who we really are, and in making fun of ourselves.

Abe Lincoln Example

Abraham Lincoln had a target on his back because he had two unique traits.

1) He was extremely tall and really thin. He stood six foot four inches tall and weighed only 170 pounds.

2) His face was so homely that it frightened small children and horses.homely face

Yet, despite being called “string bean,” “scarecrow” and “gorilla,” Lincoln was bullet proof from this type of criticism because he was better and funnier at criticizing himself than were his enemies.

Lincoln was invited to speak to a conference of newspaper editors in Chicago, some of whom were his fiercest critics. To break the ice he told this story:

One day I was riding along a mountain trail on my horse.

From the other direction came a woman on her horse. She stopped her horse and looked at me.

“I do believe you are the ugliest man I have ever seen,” she said.

‘That may be true, madam, but there’s not much I can do about it,” I replied.

“No, perhaps not, but you might at least stay home.”

The audience of editors laughed with Lincoln instead of at him. Lincoln’s goal was not just to respond to criticism, but to allow people to see his plight and bring them into his circle of friends.

Who, Me? Too Skinny?

Just last week, two so-called “friends” of mine made fun of me for being too skinny.

“Terry you looked like a broom wearing glasses,” said one person.

“Terry it’s so windy today, I’d better tie a sting to you before you fly away,” said the second one.

Okay I get it, I’m skinny. I laughed but I felt a little tinge of pain in my heart.

steve rrevesAs a child I always wanted to be strong and powerful like Hercules. I wished I could throw huge boulders at armies of men and single handedly defeat lions and bears. But, fate insisted that I have a DNA more like Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife. There is nothing I can do about that.

I thought about how Lincoln would have used this situation to convert enemies into friends, and I replied,

“In my defense, my doctor told me that I weigh the exact right amount for someone this awesome.”

My frenemies laughed with me instead of against me. Like Lincoln, I felt I had drawn them a little closer to my circle of friends.

A Deeper Perspective

How do we look at this from a deeper, philosophical view?

We could say, “Their dogma was to criticize me, but my karma allowed me to respond with humor.”

Metaphysically speaking, “my karma ran over their dogma.”

Upcoming Presentations/Events: 

June 10th, 2016. Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair. Tucson, AZ.

November, 2016. “Utilizing Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Lions Club, Tucson, AZ.

Related Posts

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

Overcome obstacles and doubts by doing more than anyone expected

Give yourself permission to feel frustration, then relax and let it go #tmoy #storytelling

A feather is better than a hammer to win an argument #tmoy #storytelling

Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

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Donald Trump vs. Abe Lincoln – #LifeLesson10 

Failures Can Be Transformed into Strength – #LifeLesson 11

Is it better to remain silent, or to speak up and confirm you’re an idiot? LifeLesson #12

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Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

roto rooter truck

“Trust everyone, but always cut the cards.”

— Anon

The Roto-Rooter Christmas Grinch

Two days before Christmas, the sewer backed up in my house.

My brother suggested that I try Roto-Rooter (slogan: We’re #1 in the number 2 business!). They charged him $65 to clean out his clogged sewer pipe. My regular plumber charges $95.

I gave Roto-Rooter a call.

“Helloooo, this is Roto-Rooter, Susan speaking.”

“Hi Susan, my name is Terry, I have a backed up sewer and need it cleaned out. I understand that you charge $65.”

Several seconds passed with no response.

“Hello,” I said.

“Yes, well we don’t have a $65 service. That might be Rapid Rooter. I can send a plumber over to give you a free estimate.”

A red flag started waving in my mind.

I thought, I’ll let them do the free estimate. How much could a simple job like this cost?  

“Okay,” I said, “send him over for a free estimate.”

“How will you be paying for the service, by credit card, check or cash?”

Another red flag went up.

“Credit card,” I replied.

The plumber arrives in an official red, white and blue Roto-Rooter truck.

He said, “Hi I’m Frank,” as he smiled and shook my hand.

We exchanged pleasantries then he quickly inspected my sewer setup.

Grinch

Today is your lucky day!

“I can clean out your main sewer drain for only $225.”

“That sounds a little high. It’s only a 10 minute job.”

“The $225 is actually a Christmas present we are giving to our customers. We normally charge $300.”

“Really? I’d call that more of a Christmas present that Roto-Rooter is giving to itself, at the expense of its customers.”

“Would you rather have sewer water in your house?”

“No, I’d rather call someone else who will charge a fair price.”

“Okay. Have a good day,” He said, but he was probably thinking,

There are plenty of other easy marks willing to pay the Christmas ‘special’ price.

I called my regular plumber and paid the $95 to have the sewer pipe cleaned.

I wondered how many other innocent victims fell for this Grinch-like mumbo jumbo.

Your Car Will Crash and Burn!

This Roto-Rooter ploy reminded the cross-country trip my family took when I was 10 years old.

national-lampoons-car

The engine in our 1964 Chevy Station Wagon started making a funny noise near Wichita, Kansas. My father stopped at a garage to have it checked out.

After a twenty minute wait, a greasy mechanic, with the nametag “Bob,” came out. He said,

“You need to replace the thermostat and you need a balancing rod.”

My dad replied, “Just replace the thermostat, Bob.”

“I highly recommend a new balancing rod. I wouldn’t drive this car another mile without it.”

“No thanks.”

After the mechanic left, I said, “Dad, I’m worried, it sounds like we really need that balancing rod.”

“We’ll be okay.”

While waiting for our car, I heard the same mechanic tell another customer, “Your car needs a new balancing rod. I would be afraid drive that car without it.”

I was stunned. A mechanic would actually lie to someone about his car?

The Lesson

The next time I smell a rat like Frank or Bob, I will avoid that business the same way I avoid clichés – like the plague!

Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.

Upcoming Presentations: 

February 17, 2016, 1:30 pm. “Life of Abraham Lincoln.” St Cyril School , Tucson, Arizona.

March 21, 2016, 7:00 am. “Finding Stories in Your Hero’s Journey.” Aztec Toastmasters. Tucson, Arizona.

April 9, 2016. “Storytelling and The Hero’s Journey.” Cometitive Edge Toastmasters. Tucson, Arizona.

April 14, 2016, 12:30 to 1:30. “Use Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds & Funny Bones, Like Abraham LIncoln Did.” Moon Valley Women’s Club, Phoenix, Arizona.

Related Posts

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

Overcome obstacles and doubts by doing more than anyone expected

Give yourself permission to feel frustration, then relax and let it go #tmoy #storytelling

A feather is better than a hammer to win an argument #tmoy #storytelling

Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Disarm Hostility with Friendliness #LifeLesson 8

You Only Live Twice – Life Provides Second Chances LL #9

Donald Trump vs. Abe Lincoln – #LifeLesson10 

Failures Can Be Transformed into Strength – #LifeLesson 11

Is it better to remain silent, or to speak up and confirm you’re an idiot? LifeLesson #12

Convert Affliction to Anecdote – Utilizing the Stories from Your Hero’s Journey

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Boldness had Genius, Power and Magic In It

“Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

 

Act Out Characters to Make a Story SIZZLE (video)

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

 

Snapshot 3 (11-14-2015 8-05 AM) (2)

 

My Seminar

At my seminar/workship, entitled “Inspire and Engage Your Audience with Stories,” last Friday (at the Present Like a Pro Conference), the participants learned to 1) act out the characters and 2) build depth and meaning into a story.

Acting Out the Story

To make your stories crackle with energy, give each character a different voice and a different personality.

Use different voices to mesmerize your audience with laughs and drama. Embrace the full passion and tone of the character. Become the character and your audience members won’t just passively listen to your story, rather, they will be captivated by it.

Here is an Abraham Lincoln story, about a Baptist minister at a revival service that I told to illustrate my point:

Practicing Voices

One great way to practice voices is to give funny voices to the characters in stories that you read. As parents, we do that with the bedtime stories we read out children. As a substitute teacher, I give silly voices to characters each time I read a story to a class. Even when reading silently, I practice giving voices to the characters.

Components of Stories with Depth and Impact 

Before we can connect with our audience we must first connect with ourselves. We discover ourselves by examining the experiences that happen to us and in our response to the lessons that life teaches us.

In my stories I attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life, like Abraham Lilncon did. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them.

To provide depth and impact, a story should 1) identify what your goal is; 2) describe what obstacles exist (what is stopping you?); 3) tie the story to a similar incident in the past; and 4) state the lessons learned.

Make em Laugh, Make em Cry, in 3 to 5 Minutes Say Goodbye

On Friday, each student had three to five minutes to present a story in which they acted out the characters and incorporated the four components of a good story. Their stories were infused with humor, passion, and eloquence. I was amazed at the depth of the stories.

Add a Sing-a-long Song

I often add a sing-along song at the end of my seminar. This is a way to celebrate the effort the students have made and drive home the lessons from the seminar.

Here is an example of a sing-a-long song I  entitled “Tell a Story.”


Related Posts

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

Overcome obstacles and doubts by doing more than anyone expected

Give yourself permission to feel frustration, then relax and let it go #tmoy #storytelling

A feather is better than a hammer to win an argument #tmoy #storytelling

Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Disarm Hostility with Friendliness #LifeLesson 8

You Only Live Twice – Life Provides Second Chances LL #9

Failures Can Be Transformed into Strength – #LifeLesson 11

Is it better to remain silent, or to speak up and confirm you’re an idiot? LifeLesson #12

Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Abraham Lincoln and the Kindergarten Class

Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Monday, June 15th, 2015

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower

I read “The Hour of Peril” primarily because I was interested in learning more about how Abraham Lincoln responded to this crises and in hopes of gathering more Lincoln stories and quotes.

The book actually focuses on famed detective, Allan Pinkerton, and how he foiled the plot to kill Lincoln before he could be sworn into office. In fact, the book relates the whole life story of Pinkerton Perhaps a more apt book title would be “Allan Pinkerton and the Secret Plot to Kill Lincoln.”

I was not completely disappointed, as I did come across five interesting anecdotes about Lincoln that satisfied my longing.

Allen Pinkerton

1) The “Slow Horse” Story

At a whistle stop in Thornton, Indiana, Lincoln came to the rear platform of the train and apologized for not having time to deliver his stump speech. He launched into an anecdote about an aspiring politician who owned a sluggish but sure-footed horse. “The horse was so confoundedly slow, however,” he said, but just at this moment – before Lincoln could deliver his punch line – the train lurched away from the depot, cutting him off in mid-sentence.

At the next stop along the line, in Lebanon, Lincoln found that some of his supporters from Thorntown had chased the train and were “panting to hear the conclusion of the story.” Lincoln cheerfully took up where he had left off, explaining the he himself shared the dilemma of the owner of the plodding horse. If he stopped at every station to make a stump speech, he would not arrive in Washington until the inauguration was over.

2) “Lincoln Shows Endurance of Bronze Statures”

In some towns where Lincoln’s train passed, men would line up to shake his hand, with the result that his fingers would be sore and swollen. According to John Hay, Lincoln’s personal secretary: “From what I saw of the President’s coolness under the infliction of several thousand hand-shakings I should say that he unites the courage of Andrew Jackson and the sensibility to physical suffering which is usually assigned to bronze statues.”

3) “Hydrologic Embraces”

Following the first day on the train, a group of Springfield friends took leave of Lincoln to return home. After much melodramatic hugging, they went on their way. Afterwards, Lincoln commented that he was not entirely convinced of the desirability of this preponderance of “hydraulic embraces.”

4) “The Lincoln Formula”

In the interest of keeping the train schedule, Lincoln’s trackside routine had been honed to a concise formula. Here is how Joseph Howard of the New York Times summarized the procedure: “Crowds – enthusiasm – little speech – little bow – kissed little girl – God-blessed old man – recognized old friend – much affected.”

5) “Mutually Surpassed Each Other”

In New York City, Lincoln received a pair of new hats from rival manufacturers, and diplomatically avoided expressing a preference between the two, by affirming: “They mutually surpassed each other.”

While I would have preferred more anecdotes about Lincoln himself, “The Hour of Peril” still told a fascinating story.

 

Upcoming Presentations

August 5, 2015, noon. “Leadership Through Storytelling.” Tucson Downtown Sertoma. Tucson, Arizona.

)ct. 13, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 Related Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Monday, June 8th, 2015

“Careers in Writing and Public Speaking” Booth

 

On June 5th I was a volunteer at the Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Mock Job Fair, in Tucson, Arizona, a yearly event that benefit tribal high school juniors and seniors.

The students profit from the job fair by:

1) Obtaining real world advice on successful interviewing;

2) Expanding horizons and knowledge of career options;

3) Networking with business community members and leaders; and

4) Learning how to get hired for future jobs.

Interviews

In the morning, I conducted practice interviews with the students and provided feedback and critiques of their interview responses and resumes. A common error in the interviews occurred when they answered the question, “What is one weakness that you have?” Many students answered “I have trouble getting up in the morning.”

I responded, “That is not a good answer. You can talk about a weakness, but you must also add something positive too. For example, “I have trouble getting up in the morning, but I am getting better because now I go to bed earlier and set my alarm clock to make sure that I get up.” This way, the interviewer is left with a positive, rather than a negative impression of the applicant.

Job Fair Booth

In the afternoon, I manned a booth in the Job Fair where I talked to students about careers in writing and public speaking. I had copies of each of my four books for them to look at and I had a stack of free Toastmasters Magazine, for those interested in learning about public speaking.

To each group that visited my table, I emphasized that operating your own business, be it authoring books/speaking, or any other business, requires fortitude. With tongue in cheek, I said, “three-and-a-half-titude is not enough. It has to be fortitude!”

The unvarnished truth is that if you don’t write books or make speeches, you don’t get paid. It’s up to you to light a fire under yourself and take the initiative.

An Illustrative Story

In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the master storyteller himself, I told each group a story to illustrate my point. I said:

A man was praying to God one day. He said, “God, let me win the lottery. I need the money.”

A week passed and no response came. The man prayed again, “God, I really need some money. Please, help me win the lottery.”

Another week passes and still no response. The man said, “God, what’s going on up there? Why aren’t you helping me?”

A booming voice came down from heaven and said, “Work with me. Buy a lottery ticket.”

Overall, I was greatly inspired by the students’ preparation for the event and their professional behavior. Each student shook my hand, asked intelligent questions and thanked me for participating. Many of them had high aspirations.  I was pleased to be able to play at least a small part in helping them to reach their goals.

Upcoming Presentations

Sept. 8, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 Related Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Abraham Lincoln and the Kindergarten Class

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

 Abraham Lincoln’s “Teeth Will Be Provided” Story

 The fiery Irish minister was preaching on the End Times – and in particular on the Day of Judgment. As he reached the climax of his address he said that on the Day of Judgment “You will all wail and gnash your teeth.”

At which point an old woman raised her hand and said, 

“Preacher, I ain’t got no teeth.”

The Minister replied, “Madam, on this great Judgment Day, teeth will be provided. “

Radio Interview

During my radio interview with Bob Schmidt (WLFN 1490 A.M.) on Friday, I discussed how Abraham Lincoln used body language, facial expressions, and voice mimicking to make a story effective.

 “Be the ball, Danny”

 In the movie Caddyshack, Chevy Chase earnestly instructed his young golf protégé,

 “Danny, there’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.”

Likewise, one of Lincoln’s storytelling secrets was his ability “to be the story,” or, by putting himself so much into the story and into each character of the story, he and the story became one.

William Herndon

William Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner, said,

“Lincoln’s power of mimicry and his manner of recital were unique. His countenance and all his features seemed to take part in the performance.”

Do’s and don’ts of Lincoln storytelling     

Here are the “do’s” and “don’ts” in the Lincoln school of storytelling:

Do:

1) Give each character a personality: a voice, a stance, a way of moving.

2)Use words to vocalize an emotion, and use facial expressions to visualize the emotion.

3) Add interest to your voice by varying your rate of delivery, your volume, your pitch, your inflections, and your word emphasis.

Don’t:

1) Be overly melodramatic; keep expressions and gestures subtle.

2) Be afraid to have some fun.

For a great example of using body language and facial expressions to communicate, watch Charlie Chaplin in the boxing scene from his masterpiece “City Lights.”

Learn to mimic voices

Much of Lincoln’s success as a story teller was due to a talent for mimicry. Author T. G. Onstot said,

“In the role of story-teller, I never knew his equal. His power of mimicry was very great. He could perfectly mimic any accent.”

In my case, I use voices of famous actors as voices for the characters in my stories. Some of the voices I use are John Wayne (for any cowboy-type, or tough-guy character), Henry Fonda (for Abraham Lincoln, or “good guy” characters), Jack Nicholson (for bad or slimy guys), a teenager whose voice is breaking (for teenagers or scattered brained characters), Eeyore, from Winnie the Pooh, or Goofy, (for a slow thinker or a frightened person).

Here are some tips on how to mimic voices:

1) Watch videos on YouTube of the person you want to imitate;

2) Practice saying the same words that they say;

3) Practice at least four times a day;

4) Make a video of yourself doing impressions;

5) Anytime you read a book to children, practice using different voices for each character when you read a book to the class.

In developing a “minister voice,” a voice that Lincoln would have used in the “Teeth Will Be Provided” story, I watched

Reverend Lovejoy

videos of Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons. Some keys to learning the minister voice were to speak slowly, to deepen my voice at the end of a sentence, to stretch out the last word of each sentence, and to incorporate a slight southern twang.

Don’t worry if your impersonations are not perfect. Mine never are. Impersonations just need to be good enough to allow the audience to identify the characters.

 

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 FREE on Kindle only December 25!

“How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones.” Download

Reviews are appreciated!

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Upcoming Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Dec 17, 6:10 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the dynamic Dan Ramey, WBEX Radio 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio. Web broadcast on http://www.wbex.com/onair/dan-mike-in-the-morning-3786/.

Dec. 30, 6:08 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the genial and witty Jeff Anderson, KSDR AM, Watertown, SD.

Jan. 2, 11:00 -noon (Mtn. time). Interview on the Morning Blend with hosts Tina Jennings and Maria Parmigiani, KGUN9-TV, Tucson, AZ.

Feb. 4 ,2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.

Podcasts of Previous Interviews

Dec. 11, 2014. Interview with the redoubtable Rich Peterson, KROC Radio 1340 AM, Rochester, Minnesota. Podcast.

Related Posts:

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

 Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

Friday, November 28th, 2014

  Abraham Lincoln said, “Stories are the shortest path between strangers and friends.”

Lincoln’s version of a Facebook page was his one-on-one and face-to-face telling of stories to everyone he met. Stories allowed him to connect with people and win their respect in the shortest possible time. Not a bad skill for a politician to have.

Everyone who walked into Lincoln’s law office was told a story before they left. John H. Littlefield observed,

“No matter how busy Lincoln might be, whenever anyone came in he would inevitably greet him with a pleasant or funny comment, and before he left would always tell a joke or anecdote. Often he told the same story four or five times in the course of a day (to different visitors), and every time laughed as heartily as anyone.”

Toastmaster Conference Presentation Update

My seminar at the District 13 Toastmaster Conference, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones (and how you can too),” went extremely well. I may have made my presentation with my heart on my sleeve and spaghetti sauce on my tie, but I received very positive feedback afterwards. Books sold like hot cakes.

 

 Upcoming Presentations or Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Dec. 11, 7:15 am (Mountain time). Interview with the redoubtable Rich Peterson, KROC Radio 1340 AM, Rochester, Minnesota. Web broadcast on http://krocam.com/author/richp/.

Dec 12, 2014, 6:15 am (Mttn. time) the indomitable Bob Schmidt, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, Wisconsin. Listen in at http://www.1490wlfn.com/bs_with_bob_schmidt.html.

Dec 17, 6:10 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the dynamic Dan Ramey, WBEX Radio 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio. Web broadcast on http://www.wbex.com/onair/dan-mike-in-the-morning-3786/.

Dec. 30, 6:08 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the genial and witty Jeff Anderson, KSDR AM, Watertown, SD.

Rich Peterson

Bob Schmidt

Dan Ramey

Jeff Anderson

Related Posts

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

In order to win a man to your cause, you must first reach his heart, the great high road to his reason.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

In a lesson that aspiring candidate for the 2016 election, such as Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush, could learn from, Abraham Lincoln captured the Republican Nomination for the Presidency in 1860 by not criticizing his opponents.

Of the four candidates running for the Republican nomination for the Presidency in 1860, Lincoln had the very least amount of experience. Compared to the other candidates, who were all political “heavy weights,” Lincoln was considered a political “light weight.”

A Stunning Upset

It’s like the scene in the movie Rocky, where a TV interview shows challenger Rocky Balboa pounding frozen cow carcasses like punching bags in preparation for the big fight. The Champion’s trainer is watching the TV and says,

“Hey, Champ, you should see this guy that you’re going to fight. It looks like he means business.”

The champ is on the phone busily lining up endorsements for the fight and absentmindedly replies,

“Yeah, I mean business too.”

But you could see in his demeanor that he didn’t really comprehend the approaching “tsunami-zilla” that Rocky represented, just as Lincoln’s opponents underestimated him.

Lincoln the Underdog

Wm Seward

On the surface, Lincoln’s rivals for the nomination had nothing to fear from him. Lincoln’s only political experience on the national level consisted of two failed senate races and a single term in Congress, which he had served twelve years earlier. Contrary to Lincoln, the other three candidates for the nomination were widely known and respected by most Americans.

William Henry Seward, the front runner for the nomination, had been a celebrated U.S. senator from New York for more than a decade and governor of his state for two terms before he went to Washington, D.C.

Salmon Chase

Ohio’s Salmon Chase, a lookalike of the monster (Peter Boyle) in Young Frankenstein, also had been both senator and governor, and had played a central role in the formation of the national Republican Party.

Edward Bates -“You lookin’ at me?”

Edward (evil eye) Bates was a widely respected elder statesman, a delegate to the convention that had framed the Missouri Compromise, and a former congressman whose opinions on national matters were still widely sought.

Yet somehow, Lincoln, a political unknown, surprised almost everyone, and through some form of political jujitsu, outmaneuvered his opponents and captured the nomination.

In retrospect, we can see an explanation of how Lincoln accomplished this astounding feat.

Lincoln’s Stories Neutralize the Opposition

Lincoln had a huge advantage in the crucial area of communication and storytelling. Lincoln had an easy-going personality and a style of not directly attacking the opinions of others. Rather, he used persuasion and stories to win them over, resulting in no delegates at the convention being strongly opposed to him. When the other candidates split the vote, the affable Lincoln was the runaway “second choice” of the nominating convention. Lincoln could have been the poster boy for Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

The Lesson

Lincoln’s proficiency in storytelling eclipsed the experience and credentials of the other candidates. He never had to resort to mud-slinging or smear campaigns. Instead, Lincoln used stories to gently show people who disagreed with his policies the logical reasoning behind his decisions.

He didn’t view his opponents as enemies. His response was to view their perspectives as being no different than his own,  if he were in their shoes. They just needed things explained in the proper terms for them to fully grasp and support Lincoln’s view.

Lincoln’s goal was never to knock down his enemies like a row of bowling pins. He aimed to convince them to fall down voluntarily. Stories were the way he reached their hearts and minds.

See Also:

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

 What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me about the Power of Stories

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Upcoming Presentations

On November 15, I will be presenting a 40 minute seminar on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones,” at the DoubleTree Inn in Tucson, Arizona for the 2014 Statewide Toastmaster (District 3) Conference.

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds & Funny Bones

 

“I am Terry Sprouse and I am a Lincoln-holic.”

But, let’s go back to where it all began.

I first became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras in 1986. Like most PCVs, I was starved for any reading material that was written in English, a thing more valuable to me than diamonds.

A Life Changing Book 

One day, I received a large package from my mother. It was book entitled “Abraham Lincoln – One volume edition” by Carl Sandburg.

I was captivated by the personality of Lincoln, as well as the elegant manner in which the book was written. As I read the book, I felt like I was experiencing a beautiful dream that I never wanted to end. I read the book through many times and highlighted passages that I wanted to remember.

I think the life of Abraham Lincoln is the most intriguing story in American history. Poor farm boy rises, like Venus from the half-shell, against all odds, to become President of the United States. And beyond the Presidency, he achieves legendary status through unparalleled displays of grace, charm, and good humor.

I planted a goal in my mind to write a book that would inspire people the way that Sandburg’s book had inspired me, and maybe even write a book about Lincoln. I read everything I could get my hands on about Lincoln.

28 Years Later- The Book is Written

Fast forward 28 years. I have been a member of Toastmasters (public speaking club) for several years, and I delivered several speeches about Abraham Lincoln. In 2012, I completed a book with my wife (Turn Your House into a Rental House Instead of Selling It!) and I was casting about for a topic for my next book.

Then, the goal that I had planted in my mind to write a book about Lincoln came back to me. I initially thought to write a book containing Lincoln’s best jokes that I could sell in conjunction with my making Lincoln speeches at various groups and organizations.

Gradually the book got longer and stronger, as I decided that some supplemental text would make it all the more interesting. I added chapters on the techniques that Lincoln used to tell his stories –mimicry, self-deprecating humor, and adding a moral to the end. Then another chapter on childhood influences that molded young Abe into a storyteller. Another on how he “Lincolnized” old stories to make them his own.

Throwing modesty to the wind, I also included a chapter on how I use Lincoln-like stories to teach my young boys valuable lessons and in radio interviews to promote my books.

I presented many of my ideas in speeches to my Toastmaster Club. In the process of writing the speeches and receiving feedback from club members, the text improved, and ultimately wound up as content in my final book.

With the publication of my Lincoln book, the 28 year wait is over and my mind is at ease.

Yes, I am a Lincoln-holic, and gratified to be in such good company.

 

See also:

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes