02 Jul 4 advanced ways to tell your personal story
This week, I noticed a lot of commotion in one area of Rêve Academy—smiles, giggles, even physical movement. Sounds like students being off task, right? But we expect our student interns to manage their own workload and priorities, so I couldn’t make that judgment call automatically. When I checked in with the students, I learned something surprising: they were telling stories.
Telling stories brings to mind wayward youth who concoct dog-eating-my-homework narratives. But professionals need to master the art of storytelling if they want their personal brand to be memorable. As usual, our interns had something to teach the adults in the room. Here are 4 things they got right about personal storytelling:
1. They used more than words
This group of interns had a big presentation coming up, and they wanted to make an impression during their intros. They realized that snapping photos of themselves could tell their stories more fully than just words. Critically, this activity was also a way to learn more about each other and bond as a team.
2. They involved everyone
Have you ever seen a master storyteller at work? They tend to look around the room, making eye contact with lots of people. They use hand gestures, body language, and verbal affirmations or solicitations to connect with their audience on multiple levels. Our interns huddled around their team member, encouraging everyone to grab a marker and share their thoughts. Every team member was given a chance to be in the spotlight. When they saw our interest, team members even waved over the executive director to join the fun.
3. They were both confident and vulnerable
Each intern had the opportunity to stand up and have team members write down fun facts about them. In another group of teenagers, it could have been a disaster—but since they came up with this activity, they were committed to its success. Each young person trusted their teammates to profile them with kindness, accuracy, and humor. They didn’t let each other down.
4. They brought it full circle
This team’s presentation was a huge success. They kicked off the presentation by engaging the audience with photos and fun facts, and then they continued to impress by showing off high-quality branding work they had been working on. To the audience, it was obvious that this team liked, respected, and worked well with each other. I can’t help but think their storytelling activity contributed to that feeling.
So how can you apply these lessons to your personal brand? Consider these questions:
- How can I go beyond words to communicate my story?
- How will I involve and recognize others who are present in the narrative?
- How do I make an impression not only with my story, but with the confidence and vulnerability that make up who I am?
- How does my story come full circle?