Stories-can you tell them?

Sally (not her real name) arrived early for her appointment.  She was beautifully dressed and made up – not the usual attire for clients coming for business counseling at SCORE.  (I volunteer once a month as part of this organization sponsored by the SBA).  She was in the cosmetic and jewelry sales business so her dress was certainly appropriate for her business.  The moment she entered I was mesmerized by her shoes which had very high heels (4+ inches) with silver straps up to her ankle.  I’d never seen anything like them before.

I smiled at her and said, “I can’t take my eyes off your shoes.  Are they comfortable?  She looked at me and laughed.  “No of course not,” she said and then she added, “I just don’t want to look back years from now and think to myself that I was sorry I didn’t take the opportunity to wear something like this.  They are fun and I enjoy the attention I get when I wear them.”  I had to admit she made a point.

How To Be Memorable

Sally got the counseling she needed in that visit and I did not see her again. About 6 or 7 months later I got a Facebook friend request from someone named Sally.  By this time I had forgotten about our meeting.  I sent back a message saying that I only friend people I had met or had a relationship with and asked her if she could remind me where we met.  She responded that she was a SCORE client.  I see hundreds of SCORE clients in a year and usually only remember the ones that come back for repeated visits.

When she mentioned SCORE though I immediately thought of the Sally with the silver shoes and asked her if she was the person with the wonderful shoes.  She was amused by the way I remembered her and pleased that I accepted her friend invitation

What makes you memorable?  If you are job seeker you need to be memorable to the interviewer.  It is that uniqueness, that special something that makes someone say, “You remember her, she was the one who had those amazing shoes.” And because the shoes stood out , you do remember her.

Tell Your Story

In business you want to be memorable in a way that is connected to your business.  Sally was in the fashion business so interesting shoes were appropriate to what she was doing.  They may not be for you.

Another way to be memorable is to have a story that is memorable.  Chances are you will remember my shoe story.  Your story might be about how you got to where you are today, something exciting that happened to you, or an important success in your life or business.  Whatever your story is it should make the point you wish to make with the person to whom you are telling the story.

Stories are becoming more and more necessary in whatever you do.   Accomplishment stories help make your accomplishments memorable to an interviewer.  Stories entertain, explain and sell.  What are your stories and how do you use them?

A Story Telling Tool

Need some help crafting your story?  In an Improv class the instructor gave us a little outline of how an interesting  story might flow.  Here it is:

  1. Once upon a time (Set the stage)
  2. And Every Day(month, year) or alternatively It was his/her practice
  3. Until One Day
  4. Because of that
  5. Because of that
  6. Until finally
  7. And so now (What did I learn?)

Now here is my story following that pattern:

Once upon a time there was a woman named Sally who had a growing cosmetic and Jewelry business.
It was her practice to wear very stylish clothes and shoes.  

One Day she came to SCORE for business counseling wearing Silver shoes with very high heels (4+ inches high). 

Because of that I could not take my eyes off her shoes.  They were amazing!  When I asked her if the shoes were comfortable she laughed and said they were not but she did not want to grow old without experiencing something so fashion forward, different and interesting.

Because of that 6 or 7 months later Sally invited me to be her friend on Facebook.  I wasn’t sure I knew her and so I did not immediately accept her invitation.

Until finally she mentioned SCORE .  Then I remembered Sally and her shoes

And so now I realize that if I want to be memorable I need to wear or do something really different to stand out from the crowd.

So if you want to be memorable when you speak to a group, when you go for an interview, and when you network think about the stories you have to tell and develop them in an interesting way to build interest and make your point.  The format above is one way to do it.  What are some others that you use?

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