As speakers, and business owners successful on Social Media, we know the value and power of a story to foster a connection, grow credibility, and make a point.
Stories help craft and represent a 4-D version of ourselves, and create charges for others to connect to us. As a species in general, stories helped create the connections and sense of identity throughout the ages, in every culture. (Obviously, the reverse can occur as well, but for now we are sticking with the positive)
Much as been written about stories, how to craft, why to use, etc. Information overload is everywhere, and everyone is bombarded with so much information these days, we have all come up with our own complex system of internal filters, both primary and secondary, which can change day to day, project to project, relationship to relationship. These filters protect us from ‘useless’ information, or information that doesn’t match our needs. Understanding these filters, and by using stories, we can find ways to connect to people, and reach them with our message. Stories most often represent a non-threatening way to demonstrate, teach a lesson, highlight a point – basically creating ‘edutainment’ and creating a connection.
The power of stories are also effective for career folks and business people. I recommend to all my clients working a 9-5, or even working for themselves, that they create a Money Story repertoire for themselves. A portfolio, an inventory, a database, a folder of all of your accomplishments, feats, even failures which includes the highlights, lessons learned, key value added actions.
It’s as simple as keeping index cards at your desk, in your briefcase & / or notebook, and when something completes, or is a demonstration of something you’ve done well (you were in your zone), you grab a card and document: when, what, who, why, how. Also make sure to capture any other key pieces of information. Obviously, you can use a database (or whatever method works best for you, including my soon to be delivered app). All those successes or powerful lessons learned that can be referenced for presentations, interviews, performance reviews, speeches, etc.; your inventory of accomplishment stories with specific information which can enlighten someone else of the true value of doing business with you.
Keep up on this list, nurture it, edit it, use it – whenever you can. You will find what interests people, what works, what doesn’t. Also, and more importantly, you will find, when you have this repertoire to quickly reference in an interview setting, or pull up on your laptop for a client objection or question, you immediately establish your credibility and stand apart from the crowd. You are prepared & confident in your skills. The reality is though, this is the wave of the future, and if you don’t have these stories, you will lose your opportunities to someone who does.
What makes something a power story, a money story? Results. Documented, demonstrable results. Good or bad – believe it or not. A clear example of what it is about you that drove the success or turned something around. It can be something as clearly random as reading an article or listening to something on NPR about art appreciation that inspired you to think of your problem at work where no one has been able to reconcile. Or, it could be something as strategic and calculated as delivering the implementation of a $5 million system conversion with a team of 30.
Your money stories are everywhere, and everyone has them. I guarantee you when you start looking for them and becoming aware of your impact on things, you will begin to see them more, AND will be able to accomplish more in order to create more compelling and relevant stories. Having these stories convenient, easily accessible, and full documented will now turn your dreaded performance review into plethora of opportunity. It takes back the power of your actions and performance from your boss or supervisor, and provides you with more steering control.
I call these Money Stories because they help convince a doubting client, demonstrate your proficiency and value, get you a job or promotion, with more money, and demonstrate your credibility and expertise.
Look at your goals for the year, and at the very least, look for and record money stories related to those. But don’t stop there. Look everywhere. Run a successful fund raising event that brought in $10,000 for a non profit? There’s tons of money story detail and sub stories there! Start up a new Parent’s Association at your child’s school? Complete an ironman? Start a blog that went from zero to hero in less than a year? All of these can be used to create spectacular money stories, add depth and detail to resumes, provide content for social media platforms, or become fodder for a book. The possibilities are endless ……. Just like you know how to start looking for speech ideas everywhere, and connecting to all your different kinds of skills, the same applies to power stories.
- Go get a pack of index cards, with different colors preferred.
- Tuck some away everywhere.
- Mark 2 strategic locations where these always go (home office desk, briefcase, shoebox or even scanned into the computer (my preference, because it creates a sortable, searchable document).
- Get my app when it comes out and keep it on your phone, and store the stories on the cloud.
- Create your inventory, monitor, elaborate on the stories.
Voila! You’ve got a portfolio! So the next time someone says “do you have an example of…”, or “I don’t know how that solution would work for me”, or….. you’re ready.
Next up – how to craft that power story into a white paper or position paper and use to obtain clients, a better job even when none are posted, and build your credibility and brand.
To your success! Now go Raevolutionize!