We are in the shadow of a new year. The 2018 calendar is about to come to a close. But before we look forward to 2019, we need to look back. Look back at the last 12 months. Recall the times you’ve solved problems, collaborated, exceeded expectations, handled adversity, made mistakes, made amends, set records, delivered on-time, said ‘thank you,’ and led your organizations.
We’ve experienced a lot, but we rarely take time to record the details and build a story library of these experiences.
Why take the time to do this? Stories are the lifeblood of memorable and engaging communications (this is not news, we’ve told you that fact before). Stories define our character, convey our ethos, and illustrate our values. Stories show how we treat others, handle adversity, and make things right. Stories put our best practices on full display and paint memorable pictures of how we bring value to our customers and community. Most of all, stories build the connections you need to be successful with your staff and customers.
But summoning the perfect story at the perfect time can be a challenge. Relying exclusively on our memory means we are likely only to recall a few stories and without the details to make them resonate and relatable.
Building a story library, on the other hand, solves that problem. It gives you access to illustrative anecdotes for all occasions. You’ll have your,
reassure a concerned customer story,
save the day story,
we made it right story,
we did it better story,
and countless others.
So where do you start? Take this December to identify your top three stories from the year. Ask your colleagues to do the same. Record the details—the when, where, why, and who? Add detail about special circumstances or outcomes, things that make those stories unique. They shouldn’t be long. Think two minutes. But they should be vivid and transport the audience back to the moment of the story. Then share them, in-person. Chalk it up as presentation practice.
Developing the habit of cataloging your stories will give you the raw material to make any presentation, sales pitch, or update engaging, effective, and memorable.