Learning to Tell Your Story – An Interview with Eva Daniel on the Petrus Development Show

In this episode, Andrew chats with Eva Daniel, public speaking coach and founder and owner of The Speak Shop.  Eva and Andrew discuss the importance of improving our public speaking and storytelling abilities.  Eva touches on the mistakes people make in their public speaking, and she offers solutions for improvement.     


Show Notes


Eva was a speech major at Hillsdale College, and after graduation, she worked in radio.  Her radio experience led to a long-term radio show production career at Focus on the Family, and after that, Eva joined Dave Ramsey’s speech writing team.  Though Eva loved her positions at Focus on the Family and with Dave Ramsey, she decided to answer a long-felt call to own her own business. In August 2022, Eva made her entrepreneurial dream come true, and she opened The Speak Shop, her own speech coaching business.   


Life As a Speech Coach

Eva shares her firm belief that the single biggest thing that holds most speakers back is a lack of clear, specific, and actionable feedback.  Most speakers she works with are good speakers, but Eva is able to use her public speaking superpowers to help her clients to go from good to great.  One important thing that Eva highlights is the fact that most speakers believe their biggest challenge is in their delivery, but realistically, the biggest problem is often content related.



Eva has a tremendous passion for storytelling and helping people tell better stories. Stories are what people remember, and stories compel people to act.  Knowing this, Andrew and Eva discuss how storytelling is especially important to fundraising professionals, and Eva shares strategies for telling more effective and engaging stories.  She’s confident that we all have a story within us that deserves to be shared.   



Following Her Entrepreneurial Dream

Andrew and Eva spend time discussing Eva’s latest pursuit, the opening of her own business, The Speak Shop.  Eva shares how the book The Power of Regret by Daniel Pink greatly influenced her entrepreneurial journey.  She refused to wonder if she would later regret never opening her own business, and thus, she went for it.  Eva describes actions and advice that helped her make her dreams come true.  


Lightning Round

If you could fundraise for any organization or cause at any time in history, what would it be?

Compassion International:  I have a huge passion for world hunger issues, and I love the work Compassion does.  

If you could get a donor meeting with anyone living or dead, who would it be?

Hannah More!  She’s a tremendously neglected woman in British (and world!) history, but she did amazing things in, both as a writer and as a promoter of social change.  

Is there enough money out there for every organization that’s doing good work?

Yes. There are so many benefits to giving.  When people give, they want to give more.  There are enough of us to solve all the world’s problems, but we need to be teaching younger generations about the benefits of generosity.    

What is one piece of advice that you would give your past self?

Don’t allow insecurity to make your choices.  

Who are 3 people who have most influenced you professionally?

My husband:  He is such an encourager, and he believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.  
Jim Daly:  As the leader of Focus on the Family, Jim is an inspiration.  He is a dynamic leader with a heart for people and passion for his work.  
Dave Ramsey:  His message and his content impacted my life personally, and his leadership makes you want to work really hard.   

What is one fact about you that most people don’t know?

My childhood was spent making and selling wooden toys and weapons at Renaissance festivals.  

What is a book that you would recommend?

Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln by James Humes


If you would like to connect with Eva, please reach out to her on LinkedIn.  Eva will be one of the speakers at RAISE23, Petrus’s Catholic fundraising conference in June 2023.  Make plans to attend RAISE23 and meet her there!  Click here for more info about Raise23.


Andrew’s Takeaways

So, if nothing else, you probably learned that traveling Renaissance Fair folks are called Rennies. Ha. 


But seriously, I took a lot away from our interview. First, let’s value the importance of good feedback. In her work, Eva listens to speakers and then gives critical commentary on how they can get better. In fundraising, it is super important to find someone who can give you feedback as well. I still remember sitting in a donor meeting with my boss almost 15 years ago. After the meeting, he told me that my body language was terrible, and I seemed absent in the discussion. It was an incredibly valuable learning experience that I only got because he observed me and then gave me good feedback when it was over. This is something that I do on a fairly regular basis with my clients. If we want to be excellent, the first step is identifying our flaws, and sometimes it’s just easier when others point them out.


Second, I thought her advice on storytelling was spot on. It can be easy to think that a good story just relays all the facts. But in reality, a good story makes us think or feel something new. Diving into the middle or coming at it from a different angle can be powerful techniques. It’s also important to practice our stories to identify those opportunities to focus on the emotions. I know that this is something that I will focus on in the future. 


And third, Eva’s advice about starting a business and being scrappy, not crappy was great. I think this applies in our nonprofit work as well. Nonprofit organizations are often forced to work on a tight budget, and that means that we have to get creative and do a lot of things ourselves even if it’s not our strength. Her advice on still focusing on excellence and working toward a place where you can hire someone more qualified to help is good advice. I encourage you to look at the things that you do but don’t really do well and see how you can learn to do it better or find someone to take it over. Donors appreciate excellence, and being more mindful of this will only help you get better and raise more money. 


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