I confess. I don't feel like I have any good stories to tell.
I really don't like talking about myself. I really don't like telling my story, having stories to tell in business is the way we make an emotional connection to our audience.
But I still don't love it.
Part of the reason why is that I consider myself a fairly private person. and while I'll share whatever with my nearest and dearest people, but sharing with you – the person on the other side of the screen right now – makes me rather uncomfortable.
Because I wonder if you really would care if I talked about myself.
I've sat through too many speeches, podcasts, interviews, and panel discussions where the person on the stage just blathers on and on about themselves and they seem to forget about the audience or why we should even care about what they're thinking.
At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “Michelle, you're weird.” (which of course I am… )
“Of course we want to hear your story.”
Or you might be breathing a sigh of relief and thinking, “Me too, Michelle. Can I talk about anything other than myself?”
We have all heard the advice that you should tell your story and I give this advice to my clients all the time as well because it is a great way to connect with your people. It's how you develop your know, like, and trust factor.
But for those of us who are hesitant to tell our stories, let's talk about four stories to tell that are alternatives to telling your origin story that can help you connect with your audience.
Prefer to listen?
Before I give you the four-story alternatives, I want to acknowledge that there are good reasons why you might be hesitant to tell your own story or feeling like telling your story has to be this ultimate disclosure. Here are a couple rebel truths for you:
Rebel truth number one: your story does not have to be a rags to riches story.
When I first started my business, I ran into Jeff Walker and his launch system formula, and I signed up for his free training. In that first training, he was talking about storytelling and telling your story as a way to manufacture authority and credibility. The way he wanted you to tell your story was in this rags to riches formula.
Number one, manufacturing authority is gross. It is completely unethical.
Number two, I just felt like exploiting hardships to sell a product or service was also unethical. It just felt wrong to me.
This turned me off from telling any kind of story for a long time and not only that, I always had a hard time relating to rags to riches stories because that's not my life.
I haven't had these big traumatic events where I almost lost everything and I was sleeping on my mom's couch with $100,000 of credit card debt. Then I turned it all around with my business. That has never happened to me and it's never happened to many people.
So that always felt a little bit off.
The rebel truth number two about storytelling is you do not have to let it all hang out too much.
Information is a big turnoff for your audience because you are asking them to hold space for your emotional disclosures.
Especially if you haven't processed all the emotions around a story and you're still in it, that is asking a lot of your audience.
Let's face it, some stories are not meant for mass consumption. They are meant for you and the people closest to you.
Here are Four Stories To Tell as Alternatives to Talking about Yourself
First, you can share small moment stories.
Small moment stories are things that happen every single day and these are stories that we may overlook or we don't see as valuable or maybe we don't see that there is a universal lesson. Share the mistakes you've made. Share the a-ha moment you had while you were sitting in the bathtub.
Maybe it was just a small shift that made an impact on your life. A story doesn't have to be big in order to connect. The best way to connect to your audience emotionally is through these small moment stories.
The second alternative for telling your own story is celebrating your clients.
I love talking about my clients and about the work that they are doing in the world, the movements that they are trying to create.
Make a list right now of your favorite clients. How can you showcase their work and the results that they got? Brag about your clients sing their praises. Talk about their results because this is a great way for your audience to connect with you and it's a great way for you to put the word out there about the people you work with.
The third alternative for storytelling is to tell stories about celebrities or famous people.
Talk about what you have learned from your celebrity crushes. What has inspired you? What mistakes did you learn from? What stories have stuck with you?
While I was writing my book, The 3 Word Rebellion, I have this core belief that your idea, your 3 Word Rebellion, chose you. In Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic, she tells this beautiful story:
She had this idea that seemingly came out of nowhere for a fiction book. The characters were well-defined in her mind. She understood the plot points. All she had to do was research and write it. It was all laid out for her.
Then life got in the way and she never had the time to sit down and write this book. A few years went by and she let that idea go and she always thought, “Maybe I'll get back to it,” until one day she was talking to her friend and author Ann Patchett.
Ann had a new book coming out and she was super excited about it, She started telling Liz Gilbert the details of the book, who the characters are, what the plot was, and Gilbert realized that was the book that she was going to write. That books she never got around to writing. Ann had written that book because the idea had jumped from Liz Gilbert to Ann Patchett.
Because when an idea wants to be born, it will get out there if you do not act on that message. I love this story and it is a story that I keep with me because it helps me act and getting the message of the 3 Word Rebellion out. And it also inspires my clients to get their idea out into the world. Before it finds someone else.
When you think of celebrities or famous people, what stories have stuck with you? That can be a valuable resource.
Finally, we have one of my favorites: research and statistics.
Yes, research and statistics can be stories. I love reading Daniel Pink's books such as Drive. He does such an excellent job of taking research studies that are boring and academic and would put you to sleep and spinning those studies into a compelling story.
Cialdini in his book Influence does this well too when he's talking about the different click word triggers. He has amazing stories around the research and how those triggers work.
If you haven't read Cialdini's book, I highly encourage you to go out and grab it. It is excellent storytelling.
I also use research and statistics when I'm being interviewed. One of my favorite theories to talk about is the forgetting curve. In the forgetting curve, basically, we find that 90% of a speech that you hear is forgotten within 24 hours.
Think about the last speaker you saw. What do you remember? A line or two, an action, a takeaway, maybe a story?
This is an important statistic to share with my audience because it allows them to get super clear on what they need to focus on so that the audience remembers their message.
There are stories all around us and if you want my help discovering your 3 Word Rebellion, creating the talking points that move your audience to hell yes, and identifying the right stories for you, your business, and the movement you're creating. Head over here to sign up for a complimentary chat to see if you and I have chemistry to work together on your message and launching it into the world.
Remember, it's okay to not like talking about yourself and it's definitely okay to decide you do not want to reveal your deepest and darkest secrets. There are stories that you can tell that allow the audience to connect with you as a person and your mission is to find those and share them.