Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education

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PAMLE Keynote Speaker, Mark Brown, Wants you to “TELL YOUR STORY”

Welcome to my Tell YOUR Story newsletter!

For more than 20 years, I’ve been traveling the world, listening to speeches, and telling stories. During my travels I learned a few things. Some stories are exciting; others are amusing. Some are intriguing; others are entertaining. Some are moving; others are terrifying. Stories elicit every human emotion, and that’s why we read novels, go to the movies, and binge watch Netflix.

However, I realized that many people really enjoy telling OTHER PEOPLE’S stories. Over the years I’ve heard numerous speeches with countless stories about famous athletes, entertainers, politicians, and celebrities. On occasion I hear a story about a ‘regular person’ who had to overcome some insurmountable challenge. These stories ‘hit all the marks’; they challenge, amaze, and inspire us. They have interesting characters and plot-lines. They are all true. And the story-tellers speak with enthusiasm, passion, and emotion. What more could anyone want?

Well, here’s one: CONNECTION. It’s exciting to hear about Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Kerri Strug overcoming an ankle injury to execute the perfect vault, Nelson Mandela going from incarceration to inauguration, and myriad other stories of triumph and achievement. But let’s be honest. What are the chances that you or I will ever walk on the moon, compete in the Olympics, ascend to a presidency, or climb Mt. Everest? Not very likely. It’s difficult to truly RELATE to the people in these stories. They are often ‘larger than life’ and we can’t compare our experiences, and our existence to theirs. They are not US. However, when you tell YOUR story, it’s infinitely more likely that members of your audience can relate to your life…and to YOU. When they hear your story, they are more likely to say, “Yes. I can relate.” The truth is, as much as your audience wants to hear you, they want to KNOW you. They want CONNECTION. Unfortunately, we often don’t even think of using our stories because we don’t consider our lives to be dramatic, exciting, intriguing, or even mildly interesting. You may think that your story is mundane, but to someone else, it might be significant. Your story doesn’t have to be sensational; it just has to be sincere.

The next time you prepare to deliver a presentation, before you reach for the sensational story of someone famous, pull out the metaphorical mirror, and look at your own life. Your life is rich with experiences to which so many of us can relate, and we want to hear them. Trust me; even though you may be afraid to share what you have, your life tells a story, and there’s someone out there who needs to hear it.

Tell YOUR story! Visit Mark's website at

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