“How can we deliver as well as you? Everything you say is so clear and so persuasive. You have so many stories to tell. How can we deliver like you?”

We’d just finished a 3-day training session that I had designed for them to take away and deliver internally. It was quite simple really, all they have to do is follow the slides, follow the instructions exactly and then they’d be able to deliver the training.

But what I didn’t include were all the extra stories and explanations and examples that I kept pulling out at opportune moments to enrich the training. And enrich they did, and always do. But that’s not because I’m a gifted storyteller.

The truth is any story or explanation that I use with great impact in training I’ve practiced hundreds of times already. It has literally taken that many practices to get the impact that was impressing those trainers so much.

Your explanations for anything may not go down well first time and that’s fine. That’s normal.

Still to this day, despite everything I know about explaining things, about training and about storytelling, when I try to explain something for the first time, or tell a story for the first time, it’s not amazing. It might just about get the message through. But it’s rough, it’s long winded, the points are not clear, I repeat myself too much, I have to reexplain certain parts.

And that’s just part of the process.

Perfection is a process. It’s the same for anything. The first time is supposed to be bad. But you have to improve it and keep improving it until you finally achieve the impact you’re looking for.

So, with your work, you’re going to have things you need to explain to other people, or stories you need to tell to persuade others. Don’t expect to get these right first time. Expect them to fail somehow first time. And then improve on those failures. And eventually you’ll be able to explain your ideas so clearly and so persuasively that other people ask, “How can I tell stories like you do?”.