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Stories Are A Leader's Superpower

The best storytellers leave their audience seeing something they can't unsee. Learn how to succinctly describe what you do in a way that captures your audience's attention.

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📝This Week's Goal: Craft a gripping story to tell someone what you do and why.

We all know the power of a good story. (Think Shawshank Redemption, Serial, or Spongebob🧽) A well-told story has the power to change the lives of those who hear it. So why, then, do we as leaders often hold back when it comes to stories about our own careers and passions? 🤔

Last week, I saw a video about what happens in our brain when we hear a story.

Basically, our brains respond to what we're hearing as if we're actually in the story, and as a result of this heightened brain activity, that story gets stuck in our head.

In the video, leadership consultant Karen Eber says that when we hear a good story, we're actually seeing something that we can't un-see.

Which begs the million-dollar question...

💬 How much more impactful would we be as leaders, coaches, and administrators if we got good at telling stories like that?

👉So here is this week's Grafted Goodie:

Turn your professional elevator pitch into a memorable story. Focus on crafting a 1-minute story that tells someone what you do and why.

Let's take it one step further...

Here's the thing: It's not always appropriate (or appreciated) to launch into a 1-minute saga when you're asked "What do you do?"

One key to telling stories well is knowing when to tell the long version and when to tell the short version. (We've all been there...)

Gauge your audience's interest in the story by weaving in enticing story threads for them to pull.

Like this:

Q: "What do you do?"

A: "Well, I build software for college students to find their career inspiration fast... something I definitely wish I had as a student..."

There it is: a thread that they can pull on if they want to hear more and an invitation to share your story.

A: "I spent most of my time and energy in college preparing for a future in basketball. When that came to an abrupt end, I was lost. Frustrated and desperate for money (and a new identity), I bounced around Craigslist ads and ended up trying 7 different jobs before finding something with promise— and I consider myself extremely lucky! Many of my teammates, despite their intelligence, work ethic, and raw potential, haven't been so fortunate and are still bouncing around. And that's the situation I work every day to try and prevent college students from experiencing."

Find the thread they just have to pull and show them the story they can't un-see.

👀 Two more of our favorite resources on telling stories that stick:

• Another Hall of Fame TED Talk about how telling our painful stories can free us from the pain

• Amazing example of how one athlete tells the story of his athletic experience to prospective employers in a way that they'll value (skip to 41:40)

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