Establishing Your Credibility Through Your Story

Marketing and social media experts keep recommending that we “tell our story.” There’s a good reason for this — it’s more compelling than the dry facts, making it more likely for us to be remembered in this age of information overload. When you’re a visual practitioner, something a lot of people have never heard of, it provides a way of explaining what we do; but even if it’s a profession everyone "knows" (firefighter, bank manager), what brought you to it will be unique and interesting--as they say, there are no dull lives, just dull obituaries.

I’ve been working with members of my small business network on their stories, drawing them out on paper as they tell them. It’s been incredibly rewarding for me to get to know these colleagues on a much deeper level; telling our stories sometimes takes us to vulnerable places, not necessarily the first thing people think of as a way to establish a professional persona. But I think it adds to the appeal: it makes you a person, not just your professional identity.

Here are some things I’ve observed over these past few weeks that might make a more compelling story: 

a) Remember, not everyone needs to hear the WHOLE story; tailor your story to your listener(s) and watch or listen for their cues. What are they interested in? Develop a series of mini-stories to have up your sleeve.

b) Practice. Practice with friends and family, practice in the mirror. Create a Facebook Live post in a private group where you’re the only member and post to it daily.* It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be authentic.

c) Notice where you get fired up and where you drift off. Chances are, others will notice this too. Rather than rambling, compress the transitions to get to the highlights.

d) This is your opportunity to deliver your WHY — why you do this, why you love it, and why the person listening to you should hire or refer you. Don’t be surprised if they do!

graphic depicting stages of telling your story to establish your professional WHY

*Many thanks to Vanessa Errecarte of Marketing Simplified for this suggestion.