In a recent blog I shared the Power of Storytelling and the value it adds to your business and connecting with your clients and audience.
The question that many of my mentoring clients and readers have asked is what stories do I share? Where do I get story ideas? Here are seven tips to help you keep the storytelling ideas flowing so you can come up with just the right one for just about any situation.
Think Back and Share A Childhood Memory
Childhood memories are a great source of story ideas. The memories that stick with us from way back when are often the ones that taught us an important lesson or had a big impact on who we are today. Think back on what you remember from your childhood and how you can use those memories to highlight your message, your introduction at a network meeting, presentation or business. Those stories could also be valuable in your conversations at meetings and conferences.
For me I often think about how painfully shy I was about doing any presentations in class. Too often these events can be the things that stop us stepping up later in life.
Share An Encounter
Often the best stories are things that are happening to you and all around you. Think about who you’ve met recently, what you’ve been doing or what conversation you’ve been having. Can you use that story as an introduction to your speech or presentation? You could even repurpose into an email or social media post. When you are speaking with a new client you may find that a conversation with a similar client could be a great story to introduce and connect with the new client.
I remember when I met my first mentor – this person was the one who had the confidence and belief in me and encouraged me to step up and start my speaking journey.
What’s Going On Around You? Pay Attention
There are stories going on all around us. Pay attention to the situations and conversations people have around you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how many story ideas you’ll get just by looking around.
I love people watching especially in cafes – they use great body language and are so relaxed. It’s amazing how that changes when they get up to speak.
What Conversations have you had?
Conversations you’ve had are another great source of story ideas. Without going into too many details or sharing too much information about the person you were talking to, share the basic message of the conversation in your story telling.
I learn so much from my conversations with my mentoring clients that I can use to share with others or have helped to polish a workshop I am putting together, or become the basis of a story that I will share.
Listen To Friends and Family
Pay attention to your loved ones. They are sharing stories with you on a regular basis. Listen to your kids when they come home from school. Sit down for an after-school snack and ask them about their day. You’ll have an almost never-ending supply of storytelling material.
The best stories come from friends and family. Lots of challenges and triumphs to share.
Connect Two Unrelated Situations or Events
A great way to get people to pay attention to your stories is to surprise them. And a simple way to do that is to connect two completely unrelated things. Find a little common ground between the two events and make it work. For example, I love watching the TV show Masterchef. There was a great comment made by one of the chefs about communication in the kitchen. I took that comment and wrote my blog: “5 Communication Mistakes Not to Make from Masterchef” grabs your attention, doesn’t it?
Always Carry A Notebook or Use an APP like Evernote
There is so much happening around you that you can use for story ideas. The hard part is remembering them when the time comes that it will be a good fit with the content or product we’re sharing. That’s why it’s important to write them down. Have a notebook and pen in your purse, briefcase or jacket. Keep it with you and jot down short notes about ideas, thoughts, conversations and situations that have story telling potential. Or use your smart phone with an APP like Evernote. I use Evernote a lot as well as keeping a notebook next to my bed for those ideas or thoughts that come to mind when I am thinking back on the things that happened during the day.
I’m sure there are many more opportunities for finding stories. Share yours in the comment below.
Have fun writing and blogging and storytelling.
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Multi International Award Winner Speaking Mentor Coach Author Radio Host
Trish typically works with introverts, authors and advocates helping them to have the confidence to step up and share their message with those who need to hear it.
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