Are you concerned that your story isn’t that interesting? Do you worry that talking about your cancer diagnosis or your multiple sclerosis flare-ups isn’t going to inspire anybody? Well, you’re not alone.
Most of the people I speak with have these concerns. And it’s normal to feel this way. You’ve told the story over and over in your head, so you may not find it interesting anymore. But you have to remember that others haven’t heard it, and even if they’ve heard something similar, you will have different messages from your own perspective.
Here are five ways to be interesting and inspirational when telling your story.
When you hear the word advocate, what comes to mind? Do you picture someone walking the halls of Capital Hill visiting legislators? Or someone in the street marching with a large crowd and a bullhorn?
That’s certainly a type of advocacy, but not the only kind. And not the kind that most people I work with get involved in.
Advocacy is defined as “the act or process of publicly supporting a cause or policy to bring about social change.” It’s raising the public’s consciousness about a particular issue. And anyone can get involved in advocacy. Advocates are simply real people who care about real issues and solutions. Or as often said, advocates are ordinary people doing extraordinary things!
The types of advocacy people engage in can be broken down into a few categories (note that not everyone breaks it down this way and there is overlap across categories. But this is the way I like to think of it to make it easy and straightforward):
Public speaking has often been singled out as people’s #1 fear. I, for one, completely understand that fear! But given my job, I’ve had to face those fears and present in front of audiences large and small. I’ve also had to coach people on how to conquer their fears so that their stories could be heard.
Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way on how to calm the jitters and be confident when presenting to an audience of 10, 100 or 1000.
Before You Present
I often find that there are two camps when it comes to telling your story.
Camp one: The people that say, “I don’t really have a story.”
Camp two: The people who say, “I don’t know what part of my story to tell because it’s all important and it’s so long and detailed.”
What I’ve come to realize is that people in both camps just need help organizing. One of my go-to guys when it comes to learning about good storytelling is Ira Glass, the host and executive producer of This American Life. He has studied the art of storytelling and has boiled it down into two main building blocks.
Now before we go any further, I know that some of you out there may be saying, “But this isn’t a story. It’s my life. It’s what I am experiencing.” And I hear you loud and clear – I promise. But, if you want to share your experience with others and have people pay attention and have them feel compelled to...
Why am I sharing these photos? Well, this year, 2019, marks 15 years since I’ve been working in the field of HPV and cervical cancer. 15 YEARS!! And in these 15 years, incredible advances have been made. My colleagues and I often joke that we’re the only ones sitting on the edges of our seats waiting for breaking news in HPV. But seriously, it’s been an exciting field to be part of because of the progress we’ve made. And it seemed appropriate to recognize this milestone on World Cancer Day!
When I started out in 2004, most people had never even heard of HPV. And it was my job to educate everyone about this virus with a long name – human papillomavirus - that causes cervical cancer. And now, everyone is talking about HPV!
We have tests for HPV – so you can find out if you have the virus that causes cervical cancer.
We have a vaccine for HPV – so you never have to get HPV in the first place.
We have an opportunity to eliminate a...