Ep 130 -- Fire Stories with Jason Jordan

2-Minute Tip: Don’t Apologize


Or more specifically, don’t start your talk by apologizing to the audience for the talk they are about to hear. It comes across as an appeal for pity. When you do that it means you are starting from a position of weakness rather than one of strength.


The opening few moments of your speech are where you can have a tremendous impact. Engage your audience with something compelling. Don’t waste it apologizing about how you were up late the night before and don’t feel prepared to deliver your material well. Don’t start by telling the audience they made a mistake coming out to see you.


Post Tip Discussion: Fire Stories with Jason Jordan


I often talk about the why of your talk. Why are you delivering it? WBTU — Why bring that up? Why should your audience care? If there’s no reason for something to be in your speech or on your slides, cut it out. It’s just wasting your time.


Jason Jordan thinks about Why a lot, too, but it’s on a bigger scale. He helps organizations and individuals craft their Fire Story — the story of what drives them. It can be a cause close to their hearts or based around a moment in time that irrevocably altered their future for better and worse all at once.


My Fire Story, of course centers around the morning of June 3, 2017 when I found myself whisked away to the hospital I would live in for the next month, and the changes that have happened in my life since then — the things I’ve learned and the passion I was able to focus on helping others share their stories.


This week, Jason shares his story and talks about shaping those Fire Stories we all have. He talks about his approach to crafting a speech that will utterly terrify novice speakers, about the impact of forensics on his life, and just why Fire Stories matter.




From Jason’s website:


I completed my MBA in 2004 at Texas A&M, with a focus in Entrepreneurship. I found competing in case competitions (before the rise of “Shark Tank”) to be especially exciting! I remember noticing, at the time, that the teams that usually won were expert storytellers, and always had a compelling narrative for the inspiration for their business idea. I would watch as their stories connected with the judges, and their faces would crack into beaming smiles. That was when I first realized how storytelling could impact business.


In 2009, I launched my dream career as a professional speaker and coach, primarily focused on the interaction of the Generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials). I developed programs on Intergenerational Sales Tactics, Leadership Development, and Communications, which were delivered at corporations and events around the country. Giving people tools to help them connect with others outside their generation was immensely satisfying, but the more business leaders, entrepreneurs, and influencers I worked with, the more I pushed them toward sharing their story.


This inevitably led me to the stories that matter most: The FireStories!


I am committed, for the rest of my career, to helping people discover and share their FireStories. In a world that is overrun with information and people trying to be heard, what we truly need is UNDERSTANDING. We don’t need to know what you do or how you do it. We need to know your WHY. Your FireStory provides your WHY.


Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on finding your Why



Thoughts on Forensics


Now that the new school year has begun in the US, Speech and Debate is picking up again. It gave me my early training as a speaker. It helped Jason get started.


Many of our previous guests got their start competing in Forensics, including Spoken Word Artist Huwa from Nigeria, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Litigation at Walmart and Courtroom Graphics specialists Kerri Ruttenberg, and Dr. Denise Vaughan from the UW-Bothell Speech and Debate team.


If a student expresses interest in speech and debate, encourage them. It may be the most valuable educational experience of their life.




Jason’s Website


Jason on LinkedIn


Jason on Facebook


Jason on Twitter


Jason on Vimeo


Generation Jones on Wikipedia


Narrative Paradigm on Wikipedia


Simon Sinek’s TED Talk


Spoken Word artist Huwa on 2-Minute Talk Tips


Kerri Ruttenberg on 2-Minute Talk Tips


Dr. Denise Vaughan on 2-Minute Talk Tips



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2-Minute Talk Tips is the public speaking podcast that help you become a more effective speaker in as little as 2 minutes a week.

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