The best story to tell is the one about you

Soft SkillsOne thing that never goes out of fashion is good storytelling.

In fact, it’s all the rage right now.

Storytelling is the next-new-big-skill-thing on LinkedIn. You know you have truly arrived as a manager if others have “endorsed” you for it.

Science probably would tell us that storytelling is in our genes. It has been around since the dawn of civilization, when compelling storytelling techniques were first developed and used to pass on essential knowledge needed to survive.

In other words, there’s nothing like a well-told story.

Storytelling is the most effective communication technique to truly stand the test of time.

And what better story to tell than the one about yourself!

Or so says Katharine Hansen, author of Tell Me About Yourself.

Hansen’s book offers excellent insights on storytelling to land jobs and propel your career, which really means storytelling to win the hearts and minds of those who would hire and promote you. Now that’s a good cause.

Storytelling is something every good leader, manager, networker and colleague can put to good use every day.

With that in mind, here are Hansen’s Dos and Don’ts, essential storytelling techniques that will sell your story.

The Dos

  • Start with just one story that reveals your essence.
  • Show how you used your talents when tested.
  • Tell of a turning point in your career and what you learned.
  • Select stories that reinforce your personal brand and show your passion and personality.
  • Tell how you developed or sharpened a key characteristic — and the results achieved.
  • Show how you handle major change and lead others through it.
  • Find hero stories where you saved the day.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t talk for too long or ramble. Two minutes is about right.
  • Don’t tell stories that aren’t relevant to a targeted job.
  • Don’t lie or exaggerate.
  • Don’t omit sensory details and a bit of color.
  • Don’t forget to wrap up the story with a one sentence moral, key message, or lesson learned.

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