One of the best ways to gain and keep your audience’s attention is to tell stories. Our eyes glaze over and our heads droop at fact after fact but a good story captivates. And the audience is in for a special treat when you, the speaker, are passionate about your story and have tuned it especially for them.
My wife, Suzanne, and I recently returned from a fourth trip to Ethiopia with our sixth child. We have three children in the, ahem, “traditional manner” (hat tip to Scott Simon for that term) and three adopted, all from Ethiopia. The latter three have joined our family in the past two years.
Last weekend we spoke about our adoption journey and international travel experiences to a group at Lincoln Christian Church in Lincoln, Illinois. I didn’t talk about statistics or a hundred facts about adoption. It’s not that these things aren’t important, especially since they represent the lives of children. But it’s difficult to make people care about numbers and data points, to make them meaningful. Instead, I simply showed photographs and shared our story. And since Lincoln is our home church, our story is intertwined with those who came to listen. They’ve dropped us off at the airport and then came to greet us when we returned from 30+ hours of travel. They brought meals in the hectic and exhausting days after we came home. They babysat our kids while I was working and Suzanne was finishing her master’s thesis.
Interestingly enough, Deanne and her husband have also adopted children from Ethiopia. As you might imagine, these are stories we love to share. Either of us would be happy to speak to your group about international adoption–just drop us a note.
PS – If you’re especially curious, hop over to my family blog to learn more about our adoption experience.