Tips for sharing your personal story
Telling a story about yourself can be nerve-wracking because you don’t know how the reader or listener will react. Will they believe you? Will they appreciate your depth? Will they judge you? Will the story hit the right notes or fall flat?
These are normal concerns but one thing I know is that if your story is a real story, it will resonate with at least one person who is like you, has gone through same experiences as you, or who generally accepts your viewpoint. But the goal is not to just talk with one person. The goal is to tell a compelling story that your target audience can relate with and act on. So, use the following tips for sharing your personal story.
- Remember that your story is important
Your story is very important, and I have stressed that in this post. What you must remember is that how you talk about who you are and what you do will greatly impact on your success. Beyond telling investors how your business is unique or advertising online about the benefits of your products, one story you must never forget to tell, is your own personal story. When you share your story, it reveals your values, beliefs and you give people a reason to believe in you. If you do not tell any personal stories, we won’t even know how to relate with you but a clear story about who you are and what you do will bring people towards you.
- Show some past
Not your past work experience. Not your past education. Something that is not on your professional bio. Something that even Google does not know. Relive a memory that connects or speaks to what you currently do. This way, people can relate with you better and they realize that you are just like them.
- Find Common Ground
I shared the secret of finding common ground in an earlier post. This requires you to think ahead about the audience you are sharing your story with. Who would you like to respond to this story? What kind of people are they? What stage of their lives are they in? Think about how your story can resonate with them. A story that the audience can find themselves in is the best type of story. Yes, your story is unique and you should tell it uniquely but find commonalities with your audience.
- Use childhood lessons
Because everyone had a childhood, people respond well to stories with childhood as the starting point. What was growing up like? Who are the people who influenced you while growing up? What have you learned along the way? What valuable lessons and shared values were you taught as a kid?
- Start telling your story
You have to start first. Start telling your story in bits. On your timeline. At networking meetings. In focus groups. Don’t wait until you are invited to give a keynote speech. You will most likely never get that opportunity if they have not heard about you from someone first. Be the one to set the frame for your story. Also, to really get comfortable talking about yourself, you have to practice. The more you tell your story, the easier it gets—and the more opportunities and meaningful relationships come your way. Start telling your story today to your partners, customers, associates, and others.
- Don’t make it hard.
Tell a story you will like to hear. Use human message and avoid jargon. Keep it simple and sweet to the point. Like Jack Welch says, don’t make the process harder than it already is.
At the end of the day, you can be either of two people:
1. The person who can reach more people with your message, you can be the voice that inspires others.
2. You can be the person whose voice was never heard, whose stories were never told and whose lessons were never learnt.
The question is who will you be?
Let yourself go and tell your story. Set the stage, and frame the conversation. Yes, it takes some courage and vulnerability but remember, you can’t outsource your voice.