I’m often asked, “When it comes to deciding what story to tell, where do I start?”
Powerful stories are those that touch people, that touch people with a personal experience shared in a memorable workplace message.
When you are thinking about the next opportunity to communicate, especially a high stakes one (e.g., presentation, board meeting, big report, quarterly town hall, etc.) where a story will help advance your agenda (when won’t it?), think about experiences that truly changed you.
SELECT EXPERIENCES STILL AFFECTING YOU TODAY
These experiences are times in your life where you gained new insights and where you changed because of these new insights. These insights should be profound such that they still affect your thinking and actions today.
Your teenage years are generally the best place to start. These years were generally your formative years, where you had many, diverse life experiences.
Then, take these experience moments and turn them into workplace business stories with a specific message, a specific idea, a specific action you want your audiences to take. I call these Purpose Stories–stories told on purpose, to illustrate a point. In comparison, low impact stories are Today Stories.
SUGGESTIONS FOR STORY EXPERIENCES
Here are some suggestions to spur some creativity. Select an experience moment that will be relevant to your purpose and resonate with your audience.
|Firsts||First win, first loss (playing sports, hobby, tournament), first job, first promotion|
|Relatives||Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, Mother, Father (always great sources of stories, sayings, messages)|
|Media||Movies, books, poems, authors|
|Travel||New city, new country, new food, new language|
FURTHER READING ON BUSINESS STORYTELLING
- An Easy Way to Start a Presentation, Share a “Today Story”
- Ignite Your Team’s Passion with a Good Story
- “Pause” with Purpose in Speaking, Training, and Storytelling
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