Humans love stories – they’re as old as time. And being able to articulate your own professional story is a powerful tool in your career development. Most importantly: being able to effectively tell your story will help you stand out.
A professional story is versatile: use it in a job interview, a presentation, a training session, or even as you pitch an idea.
Here are some key considerations when crafting your own professional story:
1. Tailor your story to your audience. What are they interested in? What are their expectations or values? Make sure your story is relevant to the context of the conversation.
2. Have a captivating introduction. Open with a thought-provoking fact, an interesting question, or a short and relevant story. Grab their attention at the starting gate.
3. Structure it: have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
In a job interview, this could be as follows: describe (in a captivating way) a problem that needed to be solved + why it needed solving. Add your involvement in finding and delivering a solution, including details to show impact (like costs before and after solving, time to delivery, issues or struggles you faced) and wrap up with a quick “new state / happy outcome”. You get the idea.
4. Use metrics to showcase your impacts and accomplishments and add credibility.
5. Be authentic. This helps your relatability. Share struggles, missteps, and learning moments. They’ll like you for it.
7. Incorporate the audience’s questions. When you respond to their questions within your story, it becomes more real and engaging to them (and shows your capacity for emotional intelligence).
8. Be concise. You don’t want to be remembered as someone who rambled on and on. Watch your audience’s body language and if they seem distracted, be able to shift gears.
By weaving these elements into your professional storytelling, you’ll stand out as someone who can communicate effectively and leave a memorable impression. A professional story that’s tailored, relatable, and credible is a powerful professional tool.
Using my recruiting experience, I help tech leaders better-tell their professional stories.
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