Surabhi Lal spent 20 years working in career and leadership development in higher education, helping students unlock their potential. Now, as Chief Impact Officer at Luminary, a nationally recognized collaboration hub dedicated to advancing women through community, she specializes in designing programs that encourage learning, growth, and community. One hot topic: storytelling. “In business, the need to tell your story is bigger than ever, whether you’re fundraising or pitching yourself,” says Surabhi. “And I see people really struggle with this!” But telling your story has the power to propel you into what you want to do next, she says. The key is to build the blocks of your story so you can tell it in many different ways. Here’s how to get started:
- Define your values. Your story isn’t just about what you do or want to do; it’s painting a picture of who you are. Your values are what you believe is important in the way you live and work, like generosity, calmness, loyalty, or professionalism. Think about how to weave examples of that into your story.
- Identify your skills. You don’t have to introduce yourself with a title. Reflect on your previous experience and pick the pieces about your current position that illuminate your natural talents and strengths.
- Collect data to inform your story. Being self awareness is super helpful, but if you’re stuck ask close friends and coworkers for the three highlights or words they would use to describe you.
- Look to the future. For someone who is looking to pivot or build a new connection, think about where you want to go and how to position yourself to get there. What tasks or projects did you wish you were working on? Tell this future-facing story.
- Create a connection. You don’t even have to talk about work. What are you most passionate about? Identify three things you want someone to know about you. If you can see some of yourself in someone’s story, you are more likely to remember it.
- Write it down. Look at your points and write a script. Then, read it out loud. Practice it with friends, or your Cru, to see what works and what doesn’t. Before you know it, you’ll have your go-to lines and will be able to tell your story with ease.
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