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Section 21
Creating Stories with a Points

Table of Contents

1. Why use stories?
There is no denying the power of a story to hold attention in talking before groups.  Author, Norman Vincent Peale stated, “The true example is the finest method I know of to make an idea clear, interesting, and persuasive.”  In this section we will talk about building illustrations, examples, and stories.  Audiences like information that's presented in story form. 
---They grasp it quicker. 
---They trust it more. 
---They repeat it more accurately. 
---They share it more readily.  
---They relay it more enthusiastically. 
---And they remember it longer. 
Hopefully you have purchased other courses in this Series.  For actual examples of how I weave stories throughout my talk, purchase and view the DVD of “25 Motivational Activity Approaches for Your Most Unmotivated Residents.” Use residents’ real names below to jog your memory regarding a story.  However, when actually using the story, change the name.

What are three areas in which you could use volunteers?

List three residents’ real names and a story or illustration

One-to-Ones, Small Groups, and Sing-a-Longs

Esther, Shape Sorting (See Hazel’s story below, name was changed)







2.  5-W’s
Be specific and give relevant details in building your story.  You might say at this point, “Being specific and giving relevant details sounds good.  But how can I be sure to get enough detail into my brief Volunteer Recruitment Talk?”  There is one test.  Use the "5-W Formula."  Every reporter follows this formula when he or she writes a news story.  When you read or listen to the news, notice in one or two sentences how they answer the following questions:
What happened?
When did it happen? 
Where did it happen?
Who was involved?
Why did it happen?
If you follow this 5-W formula, your examples will have life and color.  Let me illustrate…

Here is an example with not enough detail.  “We need volunteers to visit room bound residents.”

Here is an example using the 5-W Formula. 
Who & Where:  “We have a resident, I'll call her Mary, who has a room on A wing.”
What & When:  “She sits in her wheelchair every day and doesn't want to leave her room…”
Why:  “…because she is afraid she will miss her daughter's visit.
Wendy and I in activities invite her out of her room every day to go to the lounge for a Sing-a-Long or Bible Study.” 

Notice how this anecdote answers the questions posed in the "5W Formula" above?  Of course, too much detail is worse than none.  All of us have been bored by lengthy recitals of superficial, irrelevant details.   Notice how in my examples about Mary the listener is given brief and concrete answers to each of the 5-W questions.  If you clutter your Volunteer Recruitment Talk with too much detail, your audience will tune you out by refusing to give you their complete attention.  There is no clearer message to a speaker than inattentiveness as indicated by glazed over blank faces, glances at watches, and eyes down cast to the floor.

So, in summary, strike a happy medium between bland, generalized, generic references and examples that get bogged down by irrelevant details such as the color of Mary's dress, the fact that Wendy was just hired two weeks ago, Mary is diabetic, her daughter lives in Chicago and rarely visits, and on and on and on.  Get my drift?  Now you try.  Pick an example with which to apply the "5-W Formula" in order to build your story or example.   Latter in this manual I will provide specific information as to the type of illustrations, stories, or examples that will have the most impact.  But just for now, think of a resident that could use a volunteer visit.  Answer the following questions.  Feel free to change the order and combine or delete points as needed on the lines below the grid.











Now, combine the facts above into a one, two, or three sentence example. 





3. Dramatize Your Talk by Using Dialogue
Suppose you want to give an illustration regarding how you succeeded in motivating a resident with stiff fingers to do Shape Sorting, a Success Therapy® idea from Volume One “Alzheimer’s & Low Functioning Activities with MDS Based Care Plans.”   Shape Sorting is illustrated below.  The object of Shape Sorting is to place, for example, a Styrofoam ball, a wooden children's block, and a Gatorade lid into the holes cut in the top of a shoe box. 


By using the idea of illustrating your example through a dialogue, you could begin like this…
"Hazel was sitting staring at the floor, and I said to her, 'Hazel, I know yesterday you told me your fingers were feeling stiff.  I have a hand exercise for you to try.  Would you like to try a hand exercise?  I'll show you how it works.'"  At this point, reach for your Shape Sorting box placed on the table behind you.  Show the group your Shape Sorting box.  "After I showed her how to place a shape in the box, Hazel stated in kind of a shaky voice, 'I think I could do that.'  I then gently guided Hazel's hand to pick up the wooden block and put it in the hole.  Then I asked, 'Let's see if you can do this on your own.'  Hazel replied, 'Well, I don't know.'  I handed her a second wooden block, and she put it in the hole this time with no help at all from me.  I stated, 'Good job!  See, you are really moving those fingers now.'  She replied, 'Yes, well, I guess so.'  Hazel proceeded to insert two more shapes on her own."

It isn’t always possible to work dialogue into your Volunteer Recruitment Talk but you can see how the direct quotation of the conversation in the preceding helps to dramatize the incident for your listener.  If you have some imitative skill and can get the original tone of voice into your Hazel’s words, your dialogue can become more effective.  Also dialogue gives your talk the authentic ring of every day conversation.  It makes you sound like a real person talking to them, not like an Activity Director giving a "canned" presentation for the 100th time.

Think of a similar brief encounter you have had with a resident.  However, it would be wise to choose an encounter that is going to illustrate an area in which you have a potential need for volunteers.  Since One-to-One and Small Group activities take enormous amounts of staff time due to their very nature, I assume you have a need for volunteers to do or assist with more than just your big Group Activities.  So why not choose to recall a dialogue you had with a resident involved in your One-to-One or Small Group program?  Write it on the following page.








4. Demonstrations
Psychologists tell us that more than 85% of our knowledge comes to us through visual impressions.  No doubt this accounts for the enormous appeal of the web, TV, DVD’s, Cell phones that take pictures, and on and on.  As indicated in the preceding Sections, your Volunteer Recruitment Talk is a visual as well as an auditory media.   As mentioned previously, one of the best ways to enrich a talk with detail is to incorporate visual demonstration into it.  You might spend hours just telling your listeners about your One-to-One and Small Group activities.  But get up and show me what you do when you do Caps-in-a-Bowl with a resident, and I am all eyes and ears to listen to you. 

The moment you choose some member of the audience to help you demonstrate a point or dramatize an idea, you will probably be rewarded by a noticeable rise in attention.  Being aware of themselves as an audience, the members of it are keenly conscious of what happens when one of its own is brought into “the act” by the speaker.  If there is a wall between you and the people out there, so to speak, many speakers say the use of audience participation will break that wall down.   Your Caps-in-a-Bowl or Shape Sorting demonstration becomes a line of communication between you and your audience.  Without using an audience member for this demonstration, the other individuals might still be concerned with what he or she was going to have for dinner or what program would be on TV that evening. 

Likewise, if you describe implementing Shape Sorting or Caps-in-a-Bowl with an audience member or Group Exercise using your hands and arms, your audience is more interested and can start to place him/herself either in or out of that picture as a potential volunteer, even though you have not requested the volunteer sign up yet, which occurs at the end of your talk.  Don't make the mistake of, after each example badgering them with, "And gee we sure could use a volunteer to help with Mary and with Hazel!!"   In your introduction, which is covered in more detail in the beginning of this Manual, you have mentioned the word "volunteering."  They know why you are there.  You need to let them "connect the dots" for themselves.  People like to think something is their idea, rather than being told what they should, ought to, or gotta do something.  Agree?

Ask yourself, “How can I put more visual detail into my talk?”  Then proceed to demonstrate.  An ancient Chinese saying states, and I am sure you have heard this one, “one picture is worth ten thousand words.”  Get the picture? J … Use pictures, a.k.a. visual aids, voice tones, gestures, and facial expressions as appropriate to highlight your example… however only if this is your style and within your comfort zone.

Earlier, you were told to list items to bring to show during your Talk.  What can you bring to demonstrate…? Large Bingo cards?  Color Pattern Cards…?  Bean Scooping…?  Other activity projects?  You might select one or two items from above that lend themselves to demonstration, perhaps with an audience member, i.e. Shape Sorting.  Write below activities you could bring to demonstration with an audience member.







Forward to Section 22
Back to Section 20

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