Great stories are all about the “telling detail,” a specific little observation or description or scrap of dialogue that SELLS it.
Lori gave her icebreaker speech at the last meeting. Around 20 years ago, Lori told us, she found herself financially strapped. Struggling to pay the mortgage. She needed a plan.
She decided to take in some foreign students. They could stay in the spare bedrooms. In exchange she’d cook for them and provide conversation.
And so the students started coming: from Brazil, Mexico, eastern Europe.
There was Andres from Columbia, who couldn’t get warm for two weeks. There were the Japanese teen girls who liked Lori’s cooking, except for the rice. “My mother can tell how many times the rice has been washed just by tasting it,” one said. They went out together and bought a rice cooker.
There was Joe from Bulgaria, whose English was … an adventure. “I sleep naked,” he told Lori one day. Or at least that’s what he THOUGHT he said.
What he’d actually said was, “I sleep with a snake.” Somehow, this got out. Joe sleeps with a snake. At school, other students — and even some teachers — pulled him aside. “Is it true, Joe? You sleep with a snake?”
The student boarders who passed through Lori’s life, many of them are still IN her life. They send flowers, they call, they visit.
This idea that started as a mortgage-helper ended up one of the most profoundly meaningful things Lori has ever done.
Her icebreaker was a public service message: open your doors.
And also a reminder that the best stories are all about the telling detail.
Sharing our lives with others, whether through experiences or sharing our stories, is the path to bliss in connecting with others. When we communicate effectively, we build credibility at work and trusted relationships in our families and social circles. And that’s why we think Toastmasters is the best personal development program!
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