Enjoying a cup of coffee and a conversation just like you've done many times before. You love conversations with this person. She always tells the best stories. Come to think of it... she's not like everyone else you know. Not everyone keeps you this engaged with a story. Why is that? What makes her stories different?
There's one element of story we all love and it's also the best source for you to find your own stories!
Your best source for a personal story
It's in any change, especially the unexpected changes! Think about it. When you hear a story about something that changed, you immediately expect the next part of the story to tell you how the main character reacted. What did they do about it!?
In business settings, stories get interesting when a decision has to be made because of something unique, different, or unexpected. We see the issue at hand and we think about what we would do next.
Your best source for a personal story lies in the unexpected changes in your life that forced you to make a decision.
"Then what did you do!?"
The audience loves to hear stories like this because a decision has to be made and now there is something at risk. Maybe you're risking profits for next quarter. Maybe you're risking the loss of a large sales contract. Or maybe the risk lies in whether or not your team will now be able to make the project deadline.
Every member of the audience will place themselves in your shoes and start thinking about how they would handle this change. The question weighing on their mind is, "What would I do in that situation?" I'm guessing you've had friends tell you a story like this and you actually said to them, "So, then what did you do?"
What can we learn?
When we're faced with a similar situation, we want to know what to do or not do. We want to learn from other people's tough situations so we don't have to learn those lessons the hard way. This is the spot where the leader tells about the actions taken and the results. If the choice made was the wrong one, the audience gets to learn at the speaker's expense.
If the choice made was the correct one, once again, we get to learn how to succeed in future similar situations. The next time you're looking for a story to share with your team and you think, "I just don't have any good stories." I suggest you look into your past by asking yourself this one question which acts like a magnifying lens...
When have I experienced a change which forced me to make a decision where something was at risk?
Look for any change or unexpected change in your personal history and you are bound to find a treasure trove of stories for your next presentation.
Free Storytelling Guide
Until July 31st we are giving away our free "Leader's Guide to Storytelling" eBook which contains 6 story templates you can use in business to increase engagement with your teams.
Want more information on our Corporate Storytelling workshop?
Until next time,
The iSpeak Podcast - Everyday Improvement
Do you like to get your information from podcast instead of reading blogs and books? Go check out the iSpeak Podcastwith Todd Zwissler! He's publishing our iSpeak content in podcast form. Go check it out. You will love it!
Russ Peterson Jr. is the co-founder and Managing Director of iSpeak, Inc. - An award-winning professional development training company. Russ is a speaker, international trainer, and published authoron Professional Sales Communication and Business Communication. He delivers workshops, keynotes, and personal communication coaching services to business professionals in the US and around the world. His leadership blog assists leaders in giving voice to their vision. You can connect with Russ directly through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.