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Four Steps To Telling Your Greatest Story

| May 25, 2014

To remain relevant at any age, craft a signature story where you play the superhero.

Businessman SuoerheroYears ago when I was first building my business, I used to reveal way too much. The more insecure I felt, the more I would blabber on. This need to be heard was just one of the self-protections that had become part of my identity. I was a performer, and unconsciously I viewed everyone as my audience. I was convinced that if I could entertain them, I would win their approval, and thus their business.

I have interviewed dozens of unedited people for positions at my company who describe in intimate detail their failed relationships, weaknesses and flaws. Many are in the second half of life and seem to want to take me down memory lane, rather than walk boldly into the future.

On the other hand, I have interviewed people who are so overly self-conscious that they appear guarded. I end up thinking, “what are they hiding?” There has to be a balance. So when trying to make a great first impression, it’s important to show yourself honestly the first time.

Here’s how to be positively unforgettable and create an instant connection in situations where you are being interviewed, seeking a promotion, trying to win business, win donations, or get on a board.

Do a 180-degree turn and stand in the shoes of your audience
They want to know why you are the right person to solve their problems, and what proof you have that you can actually make their life easier and better their company’s performance.

Share what you have going for you instead of what you’re missing
There’s no need to blurt out your list of wounds and weaknesses because you think that revealing them will somehow make others understand you. True alliances cannot be formed through manipulation or by soliciting sympathy.

Tell your greatest story (not the whole story)
Facts tell. Stories sell. If you want to shape or change perception, tell a compelling story about how you triumphed in a difficult situation — what goals you set and met, how you turned things around, the ways you personally made a difference. Believe in yourself and you’ll make a believer of others.

Ask smart questions and practice active listening to get the answers
Being curious is a sign of intelligence. Come armed with a list of questions that will spark a deeper conversation. Weave in your knowledge of the company and the person whose interviewing you to demonstrate that you’re truly interested in their business.

Making a strong first impression starts with being authentic – not by performing or being emotionally manipulative. Your goal is to present your highest self and instill confidence in what you can do. And isn’t that what potential bosses, clients, board members and customers want to see from you after all?

Telling your greatest story will reveal your true nature, which is an essential component in creating a personal brand at any age.

Robin Fisher Roffer - AgeNation Careers ExpertRobin Fisher Roffer is a reinvention and personal branding specialist. She is the author of several books on fearless leadership and brand storytelling, including Make A Name For Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs To Create A Personal Brand Strategy For Success and The Fearless Fish Out Of Water: How To Succeed When You’re The Only One Like You. She’s also CEO, Big Fish Marketing, Inc. bigfishmarketing.com

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Category: Careers/Skills Development

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