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It’s Your Story: Tell It! (Or Someone Else Will)

We live in the moment of the storyteller.

Across the spectrum, businesses are focused on finding ways to articulate their unique value in a way that is emotive, relatable, memorable. As marketing leaders better understand the cumulative effect of stories well told, it’s high time to leverage the power of effective storytelling for our personal benefit as well.

People routinely spend an incredible amount of time managing projects, but we spend too little time managing our own careers, our own lives. Too often, we fail to tell our own stories. And the cost of that failure is huge. You see, we all are storytellers. It happens all the time. We size people up. We see them in a context that defines them. If we aren’t told a story, we construct it for ourselves. And often, that story is built upon a series of assumptions. The result: If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. Trust me, that’s the last way you want your story told.

In that moment, you lose ownership of the story that’s all about you. If you don’t say who you are and what you want, people around you will assume you already have it. Perhaps even worse, they will assume they know what you want and move you in a direction that isn’t where you want to go at all. That’s why you have to be able to tell your story.

Being a great storyteller is about more than simply telling a story. It’s about being compelling. It’s about being relevant. It’s about having a hook that makes people want to listen from the beginning straight through to the end. It’s about having heart. And conviction. And the courage to put those in the world for others to see.

To be a great storyteller, do these three things:

  • Be Yourself—Know who you are, know your strengths, know what matters to you. This will let you tell the story that is true to you. Wrap it all in a voice that feels comfortable. Be who you are, not who you think someone else wants you to be.
  • Be Engaging—Bring your enthusiasm and your passion to your story. When you tell the story that resonates, that is meaningful to you, it will be infused with the unique energy you bring to the world.
  • Be Consistent—Craft your story carefully. Write it down to bring it out of your head and into the world. Think about the story arc, and the words you use. Everything communicates, what you say, what you don’t say. Be purposeful and tell your story consistently. Repetition reinforces your message and will make your story memorable.

Make 2015 the year of you. Resolve to take the time to craft your story. When you can tell your story, when you become the storyteller of your own life, people won’t just hear you; people will listen.

This year, make people listen.