Telling your Story – Part II
In Part I of Telling your Story, we discussed the process of identifying the foundational elements of your brand; The process beginning with listing your strengths, credentials, personality traits and professional roles. Further, you select the THREE words which, taken together, do the best job of describing you and what sets you apart from everyone else.
In our experience, many people do not have a practiced pitch ready for when they come across someone who says, “So, tell me about yourself.” Many people think they can wing-it or just make it ‘breezy’ and conversational, but, taking the time to craft and practice a story you will tell confidently will help you to:
- Make an impression.
- Differentiate yourself
- Be relevant to the situation
- Be memorable
The short version of your story – The ‘elevator pitch’
The elevator pitch is a concise, clear snippet of your story — You may think of it as the ‘trailer’ of your story. The pitch conveys key messages, and is often used in a setting where you don’t have the time to go into detail. The longer, more colourful version of your story can be used in the instance of a meeting or an interview.
Your elevator pitch should be about three sentences long, with each sentence focused on a different aspect of yourself. This may seem brief but, research has shown that 30 seconds is the perfect amount of time to hold the attention of your audience and successfully ‘sell’ yourself.
Sentence 1 – Focusing on the present, outline who you are. This phrase can communicate your area of expertise and professional background.
Sentence 2 – Think about your professional journey and outline the skills, characteristics, and experiences that have brought you to your present position.
Sentence 3 – Last, emphasize and share your goals and hopes for the future.
The long version of your story — Flesh it out and revise
You can create an effective ‘long version’ of your story by building on your elevator pitch and adding details that craft a refined narrative. This story is a great addition to your repertoire and can be used in meetings, networking events and interviews. Much like a fictional story, your professional story must follow a narrative structure and include the right elements to catch and retain the attention of its audience. When building on your elevator pitch, keep in mind that you are adding details with the intention to: make an impression, differentiate yourself, and be memorable and relevant in the given situation.
Telling the long version of your story is also an ideal opportunity to show your personality and bring some of the foundational elements of your brand to life by showing them in action. The message you convey will depend on the narrative details you choose to include, as well as, the tone, body language, and energy you employ when telling the story.
End with your eyes on the future
Whether your goals are big or small, make sure you share them and explain how you plan to achieve them. If you can tie your future goals to your current strengths and experiences, it will give you a unique and effective way to conclude your story.
Practice before going public!
Once you have written your story, practice it until you can share it with confidence and sincerity. Sometimes, it helps to record yourself so that you can identify any elements or aspects of your story that you would like to modify. Then, start using the story in public. When meeting new colleagues or during other informal conversations, use parts of your story to introduce yourself. Keep tinkering with the story until you are happy with the content, length and way in which you deliver it.
Telling your story with confidence and enthusiasm will showcase your strengths and the unique attributes of your personal brand.