One thing that I was never good at, and still not good at, is story telling. My built-in excuse is that I’m not an extrovert. Lately however, I’ve been thinking that it’s because I don’t practice. And by practice I mean practicing telling a story, not story-telling.

What’s the difference? I’ve noticed that a lot of people end up saying the same things over and over again. I’ve had bosses that would say stuff to me during individual meetings, then go out to group meetings and say the same thing to a larger audience. In retrospect, I realized that I was the guinea pig on which they practiced their speech before actually delivering it.

I’ve often marveled at how many individuals can go up on stage and talk to an audience for an hour without notes or cues. It is a fairly common skill, and it’s not restricted to heads of state and business leaders; people speaking at conferences have it too. My guess is that this is what they do, they practice their talk in bits and pieces to various friends and peers; then on the big day, all they need to do is combine the pieces and make a big story out of it.