Mundane, or MAGNIFICENT?

Over the years, I’ve met thousands of interesting people; royalty, celebrities, politicians, pioneers, and more. Some have no specific claim to fame, and they represent diversity in age, ethnicity, religious belief, political affiliation, and background. Many have life stories that most people would consider fascinating and full of adventure. Many don’t. But there is one…

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The DARK PLACE

Our stories are personal; our stories are powerful; sometimes our stories are PAINFUL. Some time ago, while discussing storytelling during a panel discussion, I made a comment about telling stories from THE DARK PLACE…a place of deep pain and raw emotions. My good friend the 1999 World Champ Craig Valentine says, “A message is really just…

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A Lesson from the Champions

August 25, 2018 was a historic day for Toastmasters International! For the past 80 years, Toastmasters has held the annual International Speech Contest which culminates in the World Championship of Public of Speaking. For the first time in the organization’s 94-year history, three women emerged as the cream of the crop, finishing in the top…

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The POWER of PERSPECTIVE

 Stories have the power to move people in many ways. That emotional connection can be increased exponentially when you have clearly defined characters, who provide their own perspective of what’s happening in your story. They may not be the MAIN character, but they can play a significant role in unleashing the power of the…

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Don’t Tell us…TAKE us

For more than 25 years, I’ve enjoyed telling stories, but all my life I’ve enjoyed hearing them, from many people all over the world. Stories give us the glorious opportunity to connect with people of different cultures and backgrounds, and also to expose them them to both the differences and the similarities of our life…

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Whose Story Is It?

Some years ago, I received a disturbing private message from a fellow speaker ‘Sam’, in another country. They were attending a weekend seminar by a very prominent, highly paid professional speaker, but they admitted that they were inclined to leave immediately. When I asked “Why?” they said, “I can’t believe this person just told Val’s…

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THE UTMOST FOR THE HIGHEST

Each year, during the week before Easter, thousands of high school athletes compete in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships (better known as Champs) in my hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. ‘Champs’ is the biggest track and field event involving high school students anywhere in the world, and the event…

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