Support your career change through compelling storytelling

//Support your career change through compelling storytelling

Support your career change through compelling storytelling

Being able to tell a good story is really important in making a successful career change. The ability to quickly and compellingly tell your story means you will engage people, help them remember you, and ensure that you are making the most of every opportunity that comes your way, whether at a formal networking event, in a casual conversation with friends, or during an interview situation.

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of human communication. It is the way in which generations of people have passed information on from one person to the next, and our brains are wired to respond to it.

This simple diagram shows what happens in the brain when we hear a story, compared to when we hear facts and figures. Hearing a story taps into our emotions as well as our analytical capability. We quickly start to relate the story to our own situation and life experience, bringing meaning and depth to what we are hearing. A good story is remembered because it brings to life emotions, and engages the different senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and even taste – making a much deeper imprint on the brain than simple facts and figures can.

Think of a networking event, who do you find it more interesting to talk to, and who are you more likely to remember? the person who clearly articulates their ambition, what they are trying to achieve and who is brave about asking for help; or the person who cannot quite formulate an answer to the question of why they are here and what they are looking for.

Preparing your story in advance will put you in the best possible position to share it eloquently and easily when you meet others, allowing your natural enthusiasm for your topic to come across clearly, rather than getting lost in a long rambling tale about how you have stopped enjoying your job and are desperate to get out! Also remember that when you are networking, each individual is often trying to get around as many people as possible in a short space of time. Being able to tell your story crisply and concisely will make you stand out from the crowd.

So, how do you go about creating that perfect story?

A simple way to do this is to create your own short story sketch. Once you have your story sketch, this can be a consistent source of reference to help you share your plans and hopes for your career change.

A story sketch has a few elements to it that will help you to create a structured story that you can then easily share with others. Using a structured approach will also help you to think through what it is that you really want to get across, and also to define what you need from different people.

You may not know all the answers to these questions just yet, but thinking through them will help you, and other answers may come to you at a later date. Remember, a story can evolve and grow – not necessarily in length, but in depth and structure – so as you move further along your career change journey you can deepen different parts as more of the story comes to life for you.

The key elements of your story are:

Why – what is the reason you want to make this career change, where is the push coming from, what is the dissatisfaction that is driving you, or ideally, the higher purpose that you want to achieve through making this change

The Roadmap – where are you on your journey to shift career, and what do you anticipate are the steps that you still need to take in order to achieve your goals?

What does it mean for you – outline the transformation you anticipate as a result of this career change, what it will be like when you are in your new or reshaped career, how will your life will be different, how will your behaviour be different, how will you be thinking differently

What do you want from the person you are talking to – This is critical. It’s important to know what you are asking for, which may vary depending on who you are talking to: It might be a reference; an opportunity to job shadow someone; an introduction to a key contact that you think could help or advise you; some advice or input on something you are working on.

What you can do for the person you are talking to – knowing what you can offer the person in return for their help is also essential. It may be a skillset you have identified that they need; an offer to introduce them to someone in return; or a recommendation around an article that may be of interest to them. If you can offer them something too, this builds your relationship and means they are more likely to think of you the next time they, or someone they know, needs something.

Finally, once you have drafted out the answers to the points above, focus on your Elevator Pitch – if you literally have one minute to share your story, what will you say?

Now that you have created your story sketch, you have all the elements you need to share your story with others. Have fun with it!

 

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The key elements of your story are:

Why – what is the reason you want to make this career change, where is the push coming from, what is the dissatisfaction that is driving you, or ideally, the higher purpose that you want to achieve through making this change

The Roadmap – where are you on your journey to shift career, and what do you anticipate are the steps that you still need to take in order to achieve your goals?

What does it mean for you – outline the transformation you anticipate as a result of this career change, what it will be like when you are in your new or reshaped career, how will your life will be different, how will your behaviour be different, how will you be thinking differently

What do you want from the person you are talking to – This is critical. It’s important to know what you are asking for, which may vary depending on who you are talking to: It might be a reference; an opportunity to job shadow someone; an introduction to a key contact that you think could help or advise you; some advice or input on something you are working on.

What you can do for the person you are talking to – knowing what you can offer the person in return for their help is also essential. It may be a skillset you have identified that they need; an offer to introduce them to someone in return; or a recommendation around an article that may be of interest to them. If you can offer them something too, this builds your relationship and means they are more likely to think of you the next time they, or someone they know, needs something.

Finally, once you have drafted out the answers to the points above, focus on your Elevator Pitch – if you literally have one minute to share your story, what will you say?

Now that you have created your story sketch, you have all the elements you need to share your story with others. Have fun with it!

 

©Allison Lindsay, 22 October 2017

 

By | 2019-02-01T16:20:44+00:00 October 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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