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I’ll always remember my childhood neighbor Red O’Brien.  Every kid in the  neighborhood was in awe of him.  He was much older than I, say 15 years or so,  and we had nothing in common except that our backyards were abutting.  The thing  about Red that was so captivating was that Red could tell the best dang stories  to us neighborhood kids.  Those “booky dories” as my little brother Brendan  called them, kept us up for nights on end. We would sit there mesmerized, mouths  open, probably drooling, as he passionately spun his tales of abandoned houses,  secret rooms, runaway convicts, and what happened to kids who stayed out beyond  their parents’ curfew.  Phew… still gives me chills thinking about them.

Good storytelling is powerful.   Of course, the better  the story the more memorable it is. 

So, the lesson learned here is that if you want to be remembered, it doesn’t  hurt to have a good story and to tell it well.  All of us already have personal  stories that reveal who we really are.   In marketing language it’s called our  personal brand.  The key is to craft those  stories so that other people want to hear them and, even better, share them.  What are yours?  How do you make them memorable so that you won’t be forgotten  by that influential recruiter, employer, boss? 

Hint:  It starts with the word P-A-S-S-I-O-N.

 I am on the startup team of an online marketplace called the Daily Grommet.  At Daily Grommet, we produce each day a new story about a person and his or her passion.  Our job is to search, search, search  until we reach that Holy Grail, their passion (maybe we should call ourselves  Daily Passion?) By digging deeper and deeper into why that person started that  business and getting to that energy, we are able to craft stories that we know  our community will connect with and want to support.

 In the same way, telling authentic stories about yourself and your  experiences is the best way to connect with that influential person.  An  employer has a tough job sifting through candidates looking for that one with  whom they can relate.  By sharing stories you give the listener a memorable  EXPERIENCE.  You can bring them in to connect on a personal level as they see
themselves in your story.  You want the listener to EXPERIENCE the story, not  just listen to it.  When you show your passion with transparency and  authenticity, you also reveal traits like competency and confidence and specific  interpersonal and learning skills.  Now those are traits and skills an employer  can relate to!

 A really compelling story changes a person; it broadens his horizon and is  very persuasive.  There’s lots of science behind storytelling that describes how  a person’s state of consciousness changes with a good story.  Some stories are  familiar and evoke memories in the listener, “Yes, I have been there too.”    Others can be an engaging novelty to the listener that makes them wonder, “Wow,  could I do that?” 

As Scott Simon of NPR says, every good story should have a point (not a  lesson or a moral) with vivid details that a person can take away to retell the story.

So, what kind of personal branding stories do you have and how do you  construct them? 

First, I would suggest that you have your overall story of who you are and  how you came to be sitting in front of this person telling your story.  For me,  I’m the youngest of a big Irish Catholic family of 13.  My family shaped me in  so many ways. (We could have written the script to Survivor with a generous  portion of Catholic guilt.)  Keep it interesting but make sure you are succinct.  For your vignettes around that particular job conversation, it’s critical that you understand your listener and what would really ring her bell!  That means  you have to do some work in the form of RESEARCH.  Scrutinize the company  website, review the job description, Linkin with the person, follow them and the  company on Twitter and get a sense of who they are and what they need and what  they would think is relevant.  Then do an inventory of your own experiences and  accomplishments both professional and personal and start thinking about stories  relevant to your listener. 

Next, you should focus on unique situations or challenges that you have faced  and vividly and succinctly describe:

  • The circumstances with some colorful details,
  • What you did to address the situation and why you chose that route – this is  where you really show your passion… use action verbs
  • How you solved the problem or accomplished the task with tangible results.   Make sure you leave the listener with a “doggie bag” they can take away to tell
    others about you.

Have fun telling your stories.  Speak conversationally. Be friendly.   Don’t  sound professorial or condescending or worse yet, BORING!  You are trying to  relate to your listener who you are (your personal brand) by sharing an  experience with them.  Draw them in, be real, and show your passion.  Your  unique personal brand will shine through and you will be remembered.  Just like  Red O’Brien.


 
 
 


Comments

Education is not only the right of rich people. Education is for all and there is no discrimination of rich and poor. So we should try to provide the education to all the people on equal basis.

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All of us are capable of narrating a good story. It's true that all of us have a good story to tell, we just don't know how to deliver it the right way. A person like Red deserves nothing but attention because he has really good stories to tell. All people should learn to express themselves. All it takes is bravery and honesty. But before anything else, acknowledge the story you've got to tell.

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