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self-advocacy

self-advocacy

Own the story of how you screwed up that one time and you’ll come out on top

Lately some clients have been talking to me about pressure to be perfect at work. They don’t want to show any flaws and maybe you don’t either. That’s too bad because a stellar, unsung story type you can use to advocate for yourself (beyond the origin story) is the lessons learned story. “Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee Your lesson learned can be your gold star if you play it right. First,…

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self-advocacy

Tell first person stories to advocate for yourself

“Tell your own story and you will be interesting.” -Louise Bourgeois

A big “Yes, Orlando!” to the wonderful people from the Diversity and Tech community at Microsoft Ignite. A big “Ugh, Orlandon’t” to the humidity. So let’s focus on the positive. During my session about how to tell persuasive stories to self-advocate, about a dozen attendees stood up and shared personal stories. While their content varied, many shared a behavior in their delivery; they told personal stories in the…

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brand stories self-advocacy

Origin stories can be about regular people, too

How to write your brand's origin story

Are you as devastated and confused as I am by the news that there might be no more Superman movies starring Henry Cavill? The world is cruel sometimes. As you curl up on the couch to console yourself (just me?) please find a moment to reflect on the larger topic: the power of an origin story. Origin stories are about point A rather than point B. When it comes to talking about our achievements, especially at work, we tend to…

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best practices persuasion self-advocacy

Want a raise? Tell the right kind of story.

Consider the homing pigeon, Cher Ami, who took a few bullets, losing her foot and eye during World War I, but still delivered her message, saving a group of American infantrymen in danger. Cher Ami was a hero, especially among the 77th Infantry Division. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre and later went on to open a tap dancing school for aviary fanciers who also had a single wooden leg. I made up the part about the tap dancing, but the rest…

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best practices persuasion self-advocacy

Use a cliffhanger at your next fundraiser

We watch and then we klatch. If you give your listener a cliffhanger, she can’t stop right there—er, she can’t let go. She HAS to hear the end of the story. This sequence (i.e., build up the story, hit pause right before the finale, watch the listener clamor for it) can rile up your fans/donors to give more because the tension is driving them nuts. Let them see the montage. The most successful fundraisers I have attended had (in addition to great organization, timing, and proper staffing)…

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best practices persuasion self-advocacy

Strategic storytelling isn’t manipulative

My kid saw an Elmo toothbrush at the grocery store the other day and insisted I buy it. He already had a toothbrush at home but it never fired him up like this one. In the end, figuring this would make him more likely to brush, I bought it. Did he manipulate me? Or persuade me? Or did I do one of those to him? Whenever I teach a workshop on strategic storytelling for nonprofits, I frame it within the art of…

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best practices character selection self-advocacy

Don’t make a long story too short

Board trainings are the best. One day, a buttoned up guy with a fabulous head of silver hair—we’ll call him Peter—moved himself to tears. He sat in a windowless conference room surrounded by a dozen fellow board members he had just met. Peter told us a story about a teenage hooligan, Jimmy, falling through the cracks. A very special nun, Sister Bea, went to bat for Jimmy and got him a gig as an orderly. As Peter spoke about Jimmy’s struggles and Sister Bea’s compassion he choked…

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brand stories self-advocacy

When to fake it with your stories

It was l’esprit d’escalier all over again. Last night I gave a guest lecture to a public relations class for professionals where the students asked fantastic questions. Of course, a few questions kept rolling around my old noggin while going up the stairs to bed, especially those about authenticity versus fakin’ it. When you tell your own story, be you.  If you’re telling a story about something that happened to you, be yourself. If you’re funny, laugh at yourself or the situation. If you looked bad when…

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best practices self-advocacy

Until you make a decision, you have nothing at all

For goodness sakes just pick something. And stir up some trouble, wouldya? Most of the stories we write for work are about true events that already happened. But sometimes we have to write about something yet to pass, like a vision. Or we’re sharing a hypothetical to explain a possibility. That’s when we have to decide what the protagonist will do. Oh so many options. Oh so much analysis paralysis. Stop worrying about the right choice and just make one, preferably something that causes a rumble. Read this pep talk from…

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