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The Importance of Being an Unselfish Storyteller

Michael Luchies is on a passionate quest to help others. He's the founder of TrepRep, a content strategy and creation agency for small businesses and entrepreneurs. He uses his background and education in the field of entrepreneurship to help bring life and viability into the ideas of others, and can often be heard from several rooms away due to his unmuted and unfiltered enthusiasm. He gave a talk at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. We have conducted an interview with him.


In your opinion and experience, was it more difficult to craft or deliver a speech? Why
They are both difficult, but crafting the speech is the hardest aspect and the most important, partly because it will also determine the delivery of the speech as well.

With my TEDx talk, I had eight months to prepare the speech. Now, you’d think all of that time would allow me to create a masterful and brilliant talk, but having too much time to prepare is just as bad as having too little time to prepare if you aren’t focused and disciplined when creating a speech.
I kept going back and forth on topics and second-guessing myself along the way. I have performed and spoken in front of groups from fifteen to several thousand live, but a TED talk is not a normal business presentation, lecture on content creation or lesson on entrepreneurship, which are my usual topics. They are heartfelt, vulnerable and passionate talks that you have to take from yourself to provide to the audience. It isn’t about spouting off information or trying to impress them, it’s about connecting and trying to inspire, which is very difficult. While the delivery of the talk does determine what the audience will get out of it, even the world’s greatest presentation won’t make up for a poorly crafted speech.

To anyone who is preparing for a big speech or TEDx Talk, I encourage them to practice out loud while they are writing the talk. Not only will this help with the end delivery, it will also let them hear needed changes and parts of the talk that could be stronger. I recorded myself every other day for the last couple of weeks before I gave my speech and listened to it. I made a lot of changes because of this process, which definitely helped improve the end presentation.

How often do you tell stories?
There is rarely an hour of our lives that goes by where we don’t tell a story.
The clothes you wear, what you post on Instagram, and how you greet someone on the street who is passing by are all stories you’re telling to others. We often think of stories as something in a book or on television, but everything we do and say impacts the stories of our lives and the lives of those around us.

I try to tell stories as frequently as possible and make sure they are ones that will benefit others. As an entrepreneur and someone who relies on his personal brand to make a living, I also have to be conscious of the impact my stories will have on my business, but I’m working to change my thinking and increase the number of unselfish stories I tell, which are ones that won’t help me, but may help others. I’m a firm believer in the power stories can have, so if you’re reading this and have a desire to help others and even yourself, find a medium that allows you to express yourself through stories. This could writing on a blog, starting a podcast, or beginning a YouTube channel – just find ways to get your story out to people you think would benefit from hearing it.

As a writer, what kind of stories or content do you like to write/read about?
I have a passion for small business and entrepreneurs, but I’m also highly creative. One of my favorite things to do is find ways to relate seemingly unrelated topics to business and entrepreneurship.

For example, I love scripted reality television that follows odd jobs or people as they live their professional lives. I can learn from them and even find ways to relate what they’re doing to topics my audience, small business owners and startups, care about. Whether it’s about a family running a pawn shop or two guys looking for junk they can purchase and resell, there are important business lessons in many of these types of television shows.

Here is an article I wrote about 7 Negotiation Tactics From American Pickers.

If you were invited to be a keynote speaker at an entrepreneurship event, which 2 topics would you present on outside of your TEDx speech "The Importance of Being an Unselfish Storyteller"?

1. How Your End Goals in Life Impact Everything You Do
I used to think I wanted to own and operate a multi-billion dollar business and be on the cover of Forbes magazine. I worked on these crazy business ideas because I thought they could become big businesses instead of working on something I actually enjoyed. It turns out, I’m not motivated by money or fame, so I eventually lost interest and those businesses all failed. It was until I thought about being on my deathbed and what I would want other people to say and think about me when I realized what I was motivated by – helping other people achieve their goals. Since I knew and loved business and startups, I’ve been working on helping entrepreneurs, who in turn help their customers. This can create a large difference in the world, but I had to really understand what I thought was important in life before finding it.

2. How Sharing Your Company’s Story Can Recruit Customers
Customers don’t want to connect with a logo, they want to know the businesses they support and the people behind them. There’s a reason shows like Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den have become so popular. It’s not just because of the businesses or silly ideas some of them bring to investors, it’s because as the audience, we get to see the passions and creations of these brilliant entrepreneurs who have put all of their time, effort and money into this business. People want more of this, and entrepreneurs can give it to them by sharing their story through the media.

How do you describe your enthusiasm of bringing viability into ideas as an entrepreneur?
I am a big believer in building supportive and strong networks around you and making sure to ask the right questions. Entrepreneurs, myself included, often get caught up in the excitement of what they are working on and miss very simple and obvious mistakes they’ve made along the way that could kill their business.

The way I now approach starting a business is by finding people willing to pay you for what you’re both good at and enjoy. This does mean I tend to lean towards service-based businesses, but I have worked with product-based entrepreneurs as well.

For example, I love startups, but I did not make a great CEO and don’t know enough about technology to start a brilliant app or service that could grow to become a big business. I took my passion for business and paired it with my skill as a writer, and lucky for me, there are entrepreneurs that benefit from this and are willing to pay me to work with them.

If anyone is interested in learning more about me and what I do, I encourage you to visit MichaelLuchies.com and please watch and share my TEDx Talk if you think it would be beneficial to people you know.

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