🐝 The One Sentence Origin Story: A Key to Public Speaking Success

Ft. Brain scientist, Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte-Taylor’s TED talk has been seen nearly 30 million times. One of the reasons why was because she was able to humanise herself and her subject in a single sentence. She used…

A One Sentence Origin Story

(and it is a BRILLIANT way to open a talk).

Origin stories give our audience the answer to a very important question:

Why did you start doing what you do?

It’s a critical piece of the puzzle…

Especially when your audience hasn’t got a clue who you are. When we understand your why, it allows us to connect on a level far deeper than impressive job titles and decades of expertise.

The secret to a great origin story is to shape it around a specific trigger event. It might be:

  1. A personal challenge 🧗,

  2. A transformative experience 🦋,

  3. The discovery of a market gap 💡 (if you’re pitching for investment)

But what if you don’t have time to go all in on the narrative?

Or the story detracts from the real point of your talk?

Or maybe you’re in a setting where sharing a deeply personal story isn’t appropriate.

That’s where the one-sentence origin story comes into its own. All of the benefits in under 32 seconds. As Jill perfectly demonstrates, (without holding a human brain) in this clip… 🍿 

Structure your one-sentence origin story like this:

I became a [insert job] because [insert trigger event].

For example…

‘I grew up to study the human brain because I have a brother who has been diagnosed with a brain disorder, schizophrenia.’

Jill Bolte Taylor

‘I started Bumble because so many of the smart, wonderful women in my life were still waiting around for men to ask them out.’

Whitney Wolfe Herd

‘I became a public speaking coach because running TEDxClapham, it always seemed to be the most reluctant speakers whose talks ended up having the most impact.’

Me (2 hours after falling into a rabbit hole of 300 versions!)

One-sentence origin stories aren’t just for opening keynotes, they’re for podcasts, investor pitches, team meetings, networking events, speaker bios, personal websites, panels, job interviews, and social profiles.

One of the most impactful statements you will ever create.

So get to it :-).


p.s. Did someone forward this to you? Read past issues & subscribe here.

Was this email useful?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.