Each of us has an unlimited amount of great story material locked in our memories. Kindra Hall, author of Finding Your Story, offers these focused strategies for uncovering valuable stories for use in your presentations, conversations and marketing. Your answers to the questions at the end of each tip will help determine whether or not you have a good story. Remember, the most effective stories are those in which the hero (in this case, you) undergoes some sort of growth or revelation.
1. Think About “Firsts”
Your first job, first car, first kiss. “Firsts are often packed with emotion and drama, which makes for great stories,” Hall says. Write down a few of your firsts and ask yourself: Who was there? How did I feel? Did anything go wrong? How did it turn out? What did I learn?
2. Best Friends
Make a list of anyone you called “best friend.” For each one, write down your favorite memories—things you did together, places you went, trouble you might have caused. What happened to your friendship? Are you still friends? Was there a falling-out? Where are they now? And finally, what would they think of the person you have become?
3. Take a Photo Journey
Photographs capture moments that are often pieces of a bigger story. Page through an old photo album and ask yourself: What was happening? Who was there (and how did you know them)? Why were you there? Did anything funny/sad/scary/exciting happen? Did you learn anything?
4. If You’re Not the Kind of Person Who…
Interesting stories happen when we act outside our typical behavior. For example, if you are not a risk-taker, recall when you took a risk. How did it turn out? What did you learn? If you’re not a person who cries, when was a time you shed some serious tears? Why? What happened after? Did you change as a result of that experience?