What is Your Signature Story?

by Ruth Klein on August 21, 2013

Long gone are the days when entrepreneurs and professionals were invisibly cloaked from consumers and clients; holed up in an office or steel tower. Today, the highly visible founder, CEO, owner, etc. is front and center. The ‘Invisibility Cloak’ of yesterday has been tossed aside, placing us smack in the middle of a Brand Shift.

People today want to know you….and they want to know what makes you tick, what motivates you to do what you’re doing. Think Reality TV and all of the variations since it’s beginning…we are in an “engagement era” where connection is vital!

We are now working in an incredible momentum of change. And in this case it’s a brand shift and part of the shift involves transparency and your story. Here are 10 tips to help you define your signature story:

Story1. Think of a time that you went through real hardship or a traumatic event. This hardship or difficulty can now be shared in service to helping your audience see how you went from there to here…how you were able to lift yourself up and out of the discomfort or frustration and allow them to connect with you and feel that you can be helpful to them as well.

2. What pivotal declaration did you make to yourself or share with others? Almost always when we go through a very difficult time, we glean wonderful insights from the experience and at some point, we make a different decision – a declaration based on a different belief -which results in a different outcome… usually an outcome that is created from different actions we take that are more life-serving than before.

3. This pivotal time demonstrates incredible vulnerability and transparency with your audience… otherwise; others only see your successes. We are all human and each of us has the opportunity to live through different experiences and trials that help us to become a more powerful and compassionate person. In fact, many of my clients decide to write a book about their difficulty and challenges in the hope of preventing those trials and traumas for others.

4. We are all human and all of us have a painful or traumatic experience that happened to us. We’re allowed to take our humanness and see how there is One Universal Consciousness, as Carl Jung the psychologist said. Our experiences and our past are not to be discounted…but rather to be used as a starting point for real understanding and clarity for our life. In your story, make the connection of the action you took and how others may be motivated to act and move forward as well.

5. Create the emotional connection verbally with the story, as mentioned above and, if possible through pictures. Your signature story is very personal to you and emotional. Create a picture of your story through your story- telling. It is also helpful to illustrate your story with pictures, if possible.

6. Use a PowerPoint presentation to tell your story. This is an excellent tool to help you share your story. It hits all of the important elements of the mind, emotional, physical and consciousness.

7. Recount all six steps of your story. Every painful story typically follows this sequential pattern: Jumping off, Hitting rock bottom, Turning point, Liftoff, Finding the formula and Happy-ending. When telling your story, make it compelling by including all 6 steps of your story.

8. Practice, Practice and Practice. It will take some practice to be able to share your story succinctly and in a compelling way. It helps to first write down your story, and then practice verbalizing it. Once you’re comfortable, share it with someone you trust. 

9. Be able to tell your story in three minutes, 10 minutes or 30 minutes. Different situations call for different versions of your story. Be prepared for each of them. For instance, when at a networking event, the 3-minute condensed version might be most appropriate, whereas the 10-minute story would work well over lunch.

10. Be sure to emphasize the positive outcome or breakthrough you experienced. The whole point of the signature story is to demonstrate that you overcame your struggle or challenging situation- and you are now in a wonderful position and poised to help others overcome their own struggle.


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