YOU: “I have TOO MUCH to say! I can’t seem to fit everything I want to say in the time I have. People need to understand the entire picture of who I am, to really get me. Help!”

ME: “If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks.” -Mark Twain 

It takes more work and time to prepare and hone a short piece than a long one. Shorter is better. And harder. The fewer words we speak, the more value each one has. And if you want to be funny, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

While some folks have a hard time opening up, others notice there can be a tendency to really just want to share every little detail and every vital aspect of your life. To leave nothing out. To leave no stone unturned. To share what you ate for breakfast and then the snack you had at 11 and the texture of the sandwich bread at lunch. The capacity for being really specific and detailed is so important to help us find our way into your story. But it’s also important to know when we’re overwhelming the audience with information and take a look at some reasons why:

  1. You haven’t got a clear concept of what the story is about yet. When you know, you can throw out (for now) everything that doesn’t relate to that exact theme. 
  2. You are opening up for the first time and you’re finally being seen and heard and it feels amazing. You can’t get enough of this delicious attention. Try spending more time with friends who enjoy you and where you can give and receive attention with each other. Then, when you get on stage, you can focus more on sharing from a place of being of service to others.
  3. You’re afraid people will judge you for your faults, and you want to “balance it out” by sharing positive things about yourself or context about why you made the choices you made. This leads to the next trap…


YOU: “Am I really going to tell this story, in public? This is way too personal and vulnerable. Overshare! Not possible!”

ME: “People like us for our good qualities, but they LOVE us for our flaws.” -Someone Wise

“When we get especially vulnerable on stage, our protections come to the surface to defend us. When we reveal something tender and hidden about ourselves, it can be terrifying! When we take off the mask we’ve been constructing our whole lives, we can feel absolutely naked underneath. If we want to make a big shift in our experience of ourselves, we need to risk telling the truths we’ve been hiding… “What will people think of the real me? Will I still be liked? Loved? Accepted? Or will I get kicked out of the tribe?”

THE DIRTY SECRET: People are always seeing who we are! We can’t stop it. We can’t help it. We can’t fight it. People see our masks and the perceptive ones see what’s underneath. And beyond that, it turns out that when we take the mask off, the audience loves it. They go crazy for that kind of raw, uncensored truth. They eat it up. people can love us for who we really are, instead of who we were pretending to be. Crazy, right?


YOU: Telling a story where nothing changes from the beginning to the end.

ME: “You’re going to tell this story a lot of times. Some scientists say that our entire identity is a collection of memories. Repetition re-inscribes what is. So whatever truth you claim will be the truth you move forward with in your life. Don’t leave yourself with a painful end to your story. It’s important to share your vulnerability, but it’s also important to share your triumph or your insight at the end. Because that’s what you’ll leave the audience with, and more importantly, that’s what you’ll leave yourself with. As yourself, ‘In this story, what’s changed? What’s transformed? And if nothing has changed, what have you come to accept? What have I learned?’”

Missed Part 1? Here it is!
Missed Part 2? Here it is!

Stay tuned for Part 4!

Alicia Dattner

Comedian and Creatrix Alicia Dattner is an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning performer who loves to help others use the power of humor to transform their lives and write a new unfolding story for the world.


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