a career-changing moment or experience
The Story Behind the Story
My turning point occurred after hearing Glenna Salsbury, CSP, CPAE, speak on story- telling at the NSA-DC chapter meeting. I’ve
had my speaking business for eight
years and earned my CSP designation.
I wrote one book, and I’m currently
working on my second. Over the years,
I have hired consultants to help me
hone my skills and develop my brand.
Time after time, they urged me to
tell my story. Yet, I kept insisting that
stories were content.
In my work helping healthcare and
HR professionals, I talk a lot about
how your work beliefs create mindsets which, in turn, drive your actions
and, ultimately, your outcomes. I
am a walking example of the need
to listen to and implement my own
teachings. I believed that stories were
good, but not meaty. I thought that
stories made folks laugh, but what
audiences really wanted were tools,
tips and action plans. Boy, did I have
that one backwards.
As you remember in Disney’s
Cinderella, the fairy godmother used
her magic to turn a pumpkin into an
elegant carriage to take Cinderella to
the ball. I finally get it! If content is
king, then meaningful stories are the
magic fairy godmother that can transport your key points, tools, tips and
action plans in a way that makes them
memorable and easy to implement.
As a one-year survivor of ovarian
cancer, I have more stories to tell, but
they often felt personal and not relevant
to my content. And then I had a
revelation. While presenting a luncheon
keynote to a group of business-minded
pharmaceutical sales professionals, I
decided it was time to bring the fairy
godmother to my presentation.
I shared stories of my mother’s
diagnosis of breast cancer when I
was 12 years old. My mother was the
CPO—the Chief Paradise Officer—of
her life. I incorporated the lessons I
learned from her, and how I applied
them during my own cancer experiences. Through these stories, I drew
parallels that related directly to their
business challenges. And you know what
the audience said in the evaluations?
“Keep telling stories about your mom,”
and “Loved the stories of your family!”
I shouldn’t be surprised. All of the
experts know that stories make a difference and help to anchor concepts for
later recall. You probably know it, too.
But I was stuck with the ugly stepsisters
of worn-out beliefs and mindsets.
What ugly stepsisters surround you?
Call on your fairy godmother today and
share those stories to transport your
audiences to a magical place every time.
Vicki Hess, RN, MS, CSP, is an Escape Artist. She helps people scape from Professional Prison and provides their passport to Professional Paradise. For more
information, visit www.VickiHess.com.