Friday, August 28, 2009


From Public Speaking books, I arrived to Storytelling, as I realise more and more the importance of telling a story, usually personal story (but it can be someone else's too) in a good Speech.

More I go, more the books move me.

More they bring back memories, explain me things about myself. As I prepare my speech "Persuasive one" for the Toastmasters, that will have a story about a part of my life, and one that became then important to me that my father told me 30 years before.

Of course, for the moment, the big problem is: should I listen to the "rule" which tells to make the story go from old towards new, or may I, as in a book or novel, insert my father story when the moment I did remember it at the time I am speaking, which is when I was 44 years old and before my first public speech in France.

Not that I have given many before!

Reading the book on Story as Persuasive method, I remembered why I did not give any more speech from age 12.

My second language is not English but Romanian. I was taught a few days (or were they weeks?) by a Romanian Student whom my mother offered a place to sleep to prepare me for the Romanian School they decided I have to go.

Until then, I spoke only Hungarian.

Thinking, I knew enough to begin, they send me to this Girls School. The first day, unexpectedly, the teacher told to all in the class:

"we have a new between us, Julie Kertesz, stand up! do you speak Romanian?"
Instead of replying in proper language, once I understood what she wanted from me, I translated word by word from Hungarian, and answered something like:

"a bit" - or "one small" - which was not really nice and had double meaning too. For the next two years, all my classmates mocked me, called me ABIT instead of my name. I never learned well Romanian and hated that school.

After two years "passing through" I obtained from my parents to put me back in a Hungarian class and school, and even though I did not think any more of that first same that lasted two years even in the Hungarian School, I just told one girl what to say to the group but never stood up to try to speak for myself, for the class.

I will not speak about this incident this time, but a day, I'll find an occasion...

Stories like this, true and sad, take a lot of energy from me, and I'll have to put them in a more positive context to see them with smiling face.


  1. It's clear this memory is still very upsetting for you. Isn't it funny (odd-funny, not laughing-funny) how the things that happened when we were children have such deep power to wound us, much more so than anything that happens once we're adults, no matter how awful....

  2. Very true, Jeanne.

    We can never forget and when we do, it pops up or influences us still when we grow old.

  3. Stories are the most powerfull tool a speaker/communicator can use. Just look at ANY religous book, they are all full of stories that have a point to them.


    Darren Fleming
    Australia's Public Speaking Coach