7 Ways To Get Your Story Straight

I always enjoy listening to what people tell me about themselves in personal and professional settings.  I’ve interviewed hundreds of people—more often than not, most start with their positive attributes and end with their flaws.  Of course, we all have both, but how people express themselves in tone and non-verbal cues makes a difference in my believing a person’s authenticity or are they the master of pointing fingers to everyone but themselves?

Stories hold the power to connect, communicate and compel.  How people react to a story depends on content and how it’s told.  When crafting and telling your :30 story, who you are, what you’ve accomplished and where you’re headed is a delicate balance of what you say and the tone and inflection in your voice.  It makes a distinct difference in being heard versus being listened to.

 The best way to tell a story is:

1.  In bite-sized snippets of information which people will remember and can repeat.  Good or bad, people repeat what you tell them.  It may require numbers, humor or purely statements of fact. 

2.  Consider your audience.  How can they help you? Which part of your story should be told first? 

3.  Don’t waste their time. You have only 20 seconds to answer “What’s new with you?”.  Once you are done, let a moment of silence sit between the two of you. Then ask about the other person and do NOT interrupt.  Annoying. 

4.  Smile. For the love of dark chocolate, smile.  It’s infectious.

5.  Use analogies which make immediate sense to the audience so they can quickly comprehend your story. Use their profession or hobbies as the base of the analogy. 

6.  Concrete numbers work especially when you are re-telling a challenge you overcame.  Juicy to re-tell.

7.  At the end of sentence, voice up not down. Up = happy.  Down = sad or serious.  If you say something with a tone of sadness, it will be repeated with sadness.

Think of each person that retells your information as your personal publicist.   Be sure to craft what you want retold the way you want it told, as accurately as possible, with no room for miss interpretation.  
 
Put the same amount of time, effort and thought behind what’s being said to the tone of your voice. That’s the lynchpin. 
 
For example, I ran into an old colleague.

“What’s going on with you?” he asked. The first thing that popped into my head was my familiar response I often said with a tinge if humor. “Same old. Same old.  Working like a dog. Kids good. Banging the drum”.   I caught myself.

Instead I responded,  “My consultancy is thriving and just closed another client. Happily engaged with work and a big thank you to you for always being an inspiration to me.”

In a few seconds I conveyed two pieces of great business news and a compliment.  I allowed a moment of silence and then said… “and how are you?”   The silence was to let my information sink in.

People want to help others and it’s up to you to give them the story and power to do so.  It’s up to you to connect with others and push yourself forward.  Yes, it’s a delicate dance of tempo and content, but with practice you can learn to do it like a pro.

Contact me to work on Y-O-U-R story.   You will need to have several versions on hand as you go about your day, week and months ahead.

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