Everyone has multiple stories that rarely are given any value.
You may think you have nothing valuable to share with your audience, but you have something that is at the same time the most valuable of all: a personal story.
You have a life full of struggles, episodes, successes, failures, friendships, conflicts, and unrequited loves, conquests, victories and defeats. All those events without exception helped bring you here, to this moment, sharing an adventure with me.
If you notice carefully the stories of our life have a funny feature:
– Then more difficult the better.
Imagine that I made a trip to Paris by car. Many things happened along the 1600 kilometers of road that I may or may not have paid attention to. When I arrived, I went to visit a friend and he asked me: “Oh man, I’m thinking about making the drive from Lisbon to here the next time I’m in Portugal. How’s the journey” Then I can answer, ” It’s cool. ” But I can also tell him: “I had a flat tire after half an hour away and I was thinking about postponing the trip for the next day, but I did not and I’m glad because I would have caught the snowstorm from the day before, even passing the Basque country. There I stopped to get some sleep but the police came to send me on my way because there had been an attack 5 Km away and the area was not considered safe. Then I crossed the Pyrenees at night, didn’t notice on the road and got lost. I walked over two hours to climb a mountain to, after getting upstairs, come across a restaurant, a closed resort and a dead end. I had to go back, two more hours of travel. When it was morning I was precisely on the same spot where I was sleeping the night before and the police had sent me away … only I had spent five hours travelling in vain and had suffered a very pronounced shortage of my energy reserves and the snacks. ”
What is interesting in this second story is that none of the interesting things are positive, except for one: while I’m telling it, my friend already knows that everything ended well because I am there in front of him.
The problem is that for me, now that I’m telling the story, everything is romantic and adventurous but at the time to deal with those adversities I was anything but smiling.
It’s what’s good about your story: you’re always telling what happened to you from the point of view of results, from the standpoint of success.
If you have a story of shortage to tell, always tell in the past. “I had,” “I did” or “this or that happened.”
The fact that you mention difficulties in the past, you mark a position: now you do not have that problem anymore, you have found a solution.
Obviously, a story of difficulties is boring. Nobody wants to hear you wine. Everyone has their own problems and yours really have no interest to anyone. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about you telling your story from the point of view of the solutions.
That is why the tougher the better.
Everyone is fascinated with a story of success, despite all the problems, against all odds.
Yours is this, and this is how you should tell it.
– They become “myths” when they are told.
All true stories have this other fantastic feature: To be extraordinary it’s necessary and sufficient to be told.
Imagine, what is special about my trip to Paris! Nothing, really. But when I start to tell it, everything gains a mythological character, it leaves reality and acquires a different status.
Someone getting out of the car to go to the bathroom is common, but someone getting out of the car every half hour, and to his needs in a field already is a story of note. Do you know why? Because I’m telling it. The moment that happened, everyone in the car was complaining of Manel’s diarrhea, bored gang and embarrassed Manel.
Do not take your story as trivial. It isn’t.
Your stories are your most precious economic asset, if you learn how to monetize them. We are already working on it.
Once you have chosen your audience, you need to look in your past life for an episode that marked the process of identifying with yourself. Something that happened with which people can identify themselves.
If your audience are men and women of business, for example, look for an episode of your life that whas of great difficulty or huge adventure, something that has changed the course of your life or your understanding of the most important message you want to convey. It may have been an accident, a dismissal, a bankruptcy, a betrayal.
No matter what it is, what matters is that it serves its purpose of:
– Showing that you are an ordinary person who also experienced difficulties.
– Showing that, if you managed, people in your audience also will.
For this reason, your personal story is not a parade of praises, nor fooling around. It keeps you honest and sincerely pointing your failures. You will have the opportunity to talk about your successes too, but that is for later. Begin by exposing yourself in the weaknesses, it creates credibility and empathy.
I know it is not easy to drop the mask and talk about things sometimes intimate, things that marked that determined the positive direction were our life is now. That’s what it’s for.
It has an intention: to show the reader that you’re a real person, trustworthy, honest and that you know where you’re going.
Everyone likes to follow who knows where he’s going.
This process of creating your story, can be time consuming or not, depends on your dexterity. It is common to take a few days to tune.
This is the structure:
– Your life before the remarkable event.
– A description of the event.
– What happened after that.
– At what point do you find yourself now.
– Where you will be in the near future.
An example of a 30 seconds long story as it goes through all these points:
“I lived in a small village, full of financial problems. One day I had an accident and I thought I was going to die. My thoughts were that my family would be without anyone to take care of them. As soon as I exited the hispital, I went to get life insurance, now I’m relaxed. Hopefully nothing will happen for many years, but if it happens I will not be worried about that matter. “
You can increase the details (especially the “before” that are always popular, and even writing an ebook or even a novel if you want.
Intent of this story as an example: to get the audience to understand that we need to think about the safety of those who depend on us.
Why do you get that message across?
May be for several reasons: to sell insurance, to pass road safety messages, to communicate the brevity of life and how important it is to enjoy it to the fullest, sell supplements, quality of life, the importance of spending time with family, “work at home” option , or even “network marketing”, etc., etc., etc..
The orientation that you then give to your story has to serve your purpose.
The important thing is that your audience sympathizes with your situation before and adhere from the heart to your intention, thinking: if he did it, I can do it.
– Make a 30 second version, as shown above. Use this version of passage in a video, a conversation, an ebook, a blog.
– Make another 2 minutes one, for you to use more rarely: in events in which you may be speaker, in a conversation with someone one on one.
– Make yet another in great detail. Somehing that would take about 15 minutes (either telling or reading).
Do not forget that the objective is not to talk about you, but to illustrate why today you’re in the good circumstances in which you find yourself, and inspire your audience to do the same. (The important part where I explain how people can come to do the same as you, is for later, when we discuss the marketing funnel.)
You are reminded that when I listed the features that an audience should have, I said it had to be “achievable”. Oh yes. If you can not come into contact with it it’s like it’snot there. You’ll be preaching in the wilderness without anyone even slightly interested in what you have to say.