I’m sure you have heard it a million times: “your story does not define you.”
In leadership, your story does define you.
It defines the type of leader you are called to be.
Everyone has a story. Your story does not need to be tragic or depressing to be unique or important to the world. Every individual story is important and has the ability to make a lasting impact. While each and every story is unique in some way, shape, or form, what matters are the similarities our stories share: how your story has caused you to grow, how you share that newfound knowledge with others, and how it has turned you into the leader you are today. By knowing how to articulate your story, it is possible to effectively communicate your message to others.
Step One: Reflect and Brainstorm On Your Story
Begin by journaling or jotting down your story. Reflect on what the outcome was (which you may or may not decide to share) and overall how theyour story has shaped you into the person you are today. That is what is so beautiful about each individual human being – We are all unique and have different wisdom to share from our stories, and .. Take what you learned from your obstacles, and shape them into guiding how they helped you become the leader you are today. Journaling will help you form what you want to say and be able to tie everything back together in the end.
Step Two: Create The Story Visually
The main focus of storytelling in leadership is not telling the story itself; it is making sure the meaning of the story gets across. Keep it short and to the point so you do not lose your audience halfway. While keeping it short, still keep it interesting. Use metaphors, appeal to emotion, and create a picture, making it so your audience feels a part of your moment. The story does not need to be told dramatically, but it does not hurt to have the audience close their eyes and set them up for an “Imagine…” or “Picture this…” situation that will help the audience set themselves in your shoes and create an image for your story in their heads.
Step Three: Generate the “Compelling Message”
End your story with a compelling message. Whether that is learning from failure, creating change, life skills, etcetera; it is important that you make the message clear to the audience. It should be one that is able to be understood easily and move the audience to a deeper level of understanding and connection with you. You want to “go out with a bang” and leave your audience with a message that will stick.
Step Four: Tell The Story
Storytelling gives meaning to what otherwise would be a boring presentation. It generates emotion and thought, and leaves your audience better remembering what you talked about. Storytelling helps lead others to creativity and inspires them to use their own stories to give wings to let their leadership ability fly. While you can tell people to “take charge” or “think outside the box,” a well told story can be used to inspire and empower others to find and utilize their own stories, to seek their own style, to create their own path, to find their own advice.