I love telling stories. Even if it’s just fiction. Everyday when I walk to work and I see different “characters” on the street. I always make up stories about them.
For instance, the homeless man who hangs out on the corner in front of my office – I’ve named him James. He was a Wall Street hotshot but lost it all because he was greedy. Oh and he lost his family too. His wife left him and took his daughter – the only reason he even went to work everyday.
When you were born, where you grew up, the different jobs and hobbies you had over the years, these all make up who you are. But how you present these details can completely change how others see you. For example, when people hear I am a news producer and I write a blog on the side, they assume I’m the kind of person who never stops working. However, when I talk about my love of tea or doing yoga then I give off the impression of being very relaxed.
You will often hear the advice – just be yourself. This is all well and good, but when there are so many different aspects to who you are, how do you know which ‘you’ to be? Like many people, I like to highlight different parts of my personality to fit the situation that I’m in. Refining your story to suit the occasion may seem awkward at first, but it can really help you put your best foot forward. Here are some of the ways it can help.
Networking – Meeting lots of new people at the same time can be quite daunting. You’ll find yourself telling the same story over and over again. You went to this school and then you took this job… you’re so familiar with your own life it can start to sound a bit boring. However, what may seem mundane to you can be interesting to others.
When you’re making small talk it can help to picture yourself as a stand-up comedian. You don’t have to make joke after joke, just learn to follow the crowd like a comic. They will often do the same routine over and over again so they can gauge which jokes will get the most laughs and cut out the duds depending on the room. Similarly. when you’re introducing yourself to people take note of other’s reactions. Using this feedback you can often figure out what’s likely to get the best response and keep the conversation flowing.
Job Interview – How you present your story at a job interview can make or break you. You could be the best employee at your current workplace, but if you don’t properly highlight your skills you can put off employers. Before an interview go over the job specs and think of a small story or incident at work where you demonstrated the required skills. It’s fine if the story is a little unusual – that can help you to stand out. Just don’t try too hard to be quirky! If you had a negative experience at a past workplace you don’t have to brush it under the carpet. Think about how that failure has helped you to improve or change your approach to similar issues.
Expanding your business – If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few months you’ll know I’ve recently created a course, Light Camera Expert to help people pitch their businesses to media producers like me. When I listen to a pitch I always enjoy hearing why that person decided to create that business or go into a specific field – primarily because when people tell this story you can often see how passionate they are about it.
How do you tell your story?