5 ways to ensure your story is interesting and inspirational
Mar 26, 2019
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.
(Once you've read through, download my Ultimate Story Starter Kit to help you get started!)
- Be relatable. Think about the audience that you’re speaking to. What are their fears or concerns? Why should they care about your story? How does it relate to them? For example, if you had breast cancer and you happen to be presenting to a group of men at a corporate sales meeting, you want to have them relate to you as someone in their life – their mom, sister, daughter, girlfriend, wife. Position your story so they can see how it could affect them – why they should care.
- Share both your internal conflict and your external conflict. What does this mean? Your external conflict is what happened, the plot, the struggle that is happening at that moment – such as the diagnosis of cancer, the hours spent in treatment, the surgeries and doctors’ appointments. Your internal conflict is what’s happening inside – how you feel, what you struggle with in terms of emotions or character, the worries, fears, conflicts you feel inside. Think of any good book or movie and they have both internal and external conflicts – A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book. All the characters struggle with internal issues and feelings, and at the same time, are part of an external conflict that keeps you wondering what happens next. You can’t have one without the other – having both is what keeps it interesting and inspiring.
- Show your personality. Don’t be afraid to let people get a sense of who you are. Include relevant personal information about you, but in a way that adds to the story. Avoid reading off a list of facts about yourself, such as, “I’m 40 years old. I have been married for 10 years. I have 2 children, Joey and Ann. I work in a library.” Include your family members through storytelling – “When my 3 year-old twins saw me after I shaved my head, they looked back and forth between my bald husband and me. They started laughed uncontrollably and said, “Now you and daddy have the same haircut. You look like twins!” Weave in whatever you’re comfortable sharing and what will help the audience empathize with you and your story.
- Take your audience on a journey. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Make them hold their breath in suspense of what happens next. Help them to feel how tough things were at times. Show them what brought you relief and made you smile or laugh. Give them a sense of how agonizing the wait for results or answers was. If you want people to listen and understand and be inspired to take action, you want to bring them along with you through your experience. You want them to feel your story has purpose and makes a point, so they will remember your story for a long time.
- Point to the positive. You might be wondering how there can be anything positive when you’re telling a story about something traumatic. But in order for your story to inspire, it is essential that you find a positive meaning in the negative events. This can be pointing out how you treasure each moment now; how you became closer with your family and friends; how you embrace adventure; how your story is helping to save other’s lives; how you found your purpose through telling your story…think about the opportunities that have come about as a result of what you’ve been through, the relationships that grew deeper and stronger, the new people in your life, your own self-exploration, and your new perspective on life. Show how something positive came out of the negative, so your audience leaves feeling inspired by your story.
Have questions? Email me at [email protected] and tell me what you’re struggling with.