Stories grab us. They take us in, transport us, and allow us to live vicariously and visually through another’s experience. 1. Keep a log of story content. It’s much easier to find the right stories if you have a list to go to. Get in the habit of jotting down notes about content that would make for a good story – client wins, challenges, times of perseverance, etc. To get yourself started, spend an hour just thinking about experiences you’ve had where you’ve overcome hardship and made yourself (or others) proud. Once you make a habit of it, you’ll find that you can get new fodder frequently – which you can tap into when you need it. 2. When you have important points, match them with a story. One of the most powerful applications of stories in a work setting is for conveying messages that you want to have resonance, from widespread culture changes to personal mentoring. To use stories, you only need to pause, and remember to do so. And check that list you just made. The next time you find yourself contemplating what words you want to say (an indicator of an important message), also consider what story would help support your points. You’ll find that it will help you communicate your message, and for the listener to hear it. 3. Practice them. There’s a misperception that great storytellers can whip these yarns out of their hats and deliver with aplomb. The best stories are well-told stories – because they get better with each telling. Whenever someone in my workshops volunteers to tell a good story, it’s one that they’ve told many times before. If you want to get better at telling any story, start putting it out there for various groups of people. I guarantee you that you’ll learn from each experience. And instead of getting stale, you’ll get better. One caution: you do want to vary the audiences you tell your stories too. Practicing is important, but you don’t want to be known for telling the same stories to the same people.
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