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Story Telling is an Art and a Science

Yes, everyone has a story.  It is difficult for some of us to tell our stories, however.

As I work with classes of job seekers to help them develop their accomplishment stories, we work through some of the technicalities of telling stories so they convey the right message in the right way.see no evil, speak no evil hear no evil

STAR stories, as many refer to them, are wonderful ways of presenting your accomplishments in a concise, well thought out way.  (Do you need more info on creating STAR stories?  See this post:  I Just Did My Job)

Develop your stories

Practice telling your stories out loud.

  • Evaluate how long it takes you to tell your story

Aim for a minute.  Anything longer than that is too long.  People have very short attention spans.  Remember, if they are at all interested in what you’ve told them, they can ask follow up questions.

  • Make eye contact and be aware of what your body language is saying

Your eyes are the window to your soul (or so they say).  Making eye contact shows confidence and allows people to develop a sense of trust.  Being aware of what your body is doing and saying means have a relaxed, confident and poised demeanor.  Nothing in excess.  If you can, video yourself.

  • The tone, quality and volume of your voice are good

Over 80% of the message you are sending comes from your non-verbal communication.  The tone and quality and volume with which you speak is crucial.  Clear and ungarbled.  Not too slow, not too fast.  Vary the intensity.

  • You are expressive (could read as passionate or at a minimum, interested)

Smiling while you speak is part of it.  But you also want to show your interest in the story.  Don’t hold back!  Don’t try and play it cool.

These stories will absolutely get used during an interview.  They can also be used many other times and places, networking meetings, for example.

Great actors and actresses rehearse their lines.  They use their entire bodies to tell their story.

Who is one of the best story tellers you know and why?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ed Han May 2, 2011, 10:39 am

    Hannah, I remember how weird I found the concept of the behavioral question on first learning of it. One way I particularly enjoy using the form is as part of a LinkedIn recommendation I make for someone. I think that embedding a STAR in a recommendation on LinkedIn gives valuable context to a reader: it’s meaty and substantial.

    • Hannah Morgan May 3, 2011, 5:21 am

      Using a STAR in a LinkedIn recommendation is a super idea! Talk about exceeding expectations! I bet those who receive your recommendations are so happy! And, by the way, so are those who read the recommendations you write!