In this episode of the Art of Likability, we discuss how sharing your story builds understanding between you and your audience.
It's hard to hate on someone when you know their story! Let's get into this with some examples:
"Here's the Full Story..."
Imagine if you were driving home and a car suddenly swerves across your lane with no indication. Maybe you'd feel a burst of anger at coming across such a crass driver.
But what if that were not the full story?
What if the person swerving that car were a mother whose child was choking in the backseat. In between trying to help her choking child and driving the car, her driving suffered.
It's hard to be angry at that.
Where else in life do we not get the full story? I remember as a young man that I used that hate my bullies and did not understand why they were picking on me.
Looking back, I may have not gotten the whole story on them. Perhaps they were suffering at the time and chose a very unhealthy way to deal with their situation.
"What's the full story?" Find that out and you'll find it easier to empathize with someone. Share your story, and you will build a bridge between you and your audience.
I don't want to look fake.
It is so easy nowadays to hop onto social media and look at how perfect everyone is on their account. One person just went to a vacation in Europe, while the other posts smiling selfies each day. As usual and as expected for Instagram.
But that Instagram snapshot is literally just one second of that person's life. Deep down, you understand that all the glamour and glitz belie what goes on in real life.
(Real life is more than just a pizza party. There's also getting all the logistics right for the pizza party! See below)
What, and When to Share?
We know there is power in sharing your life story, but you definitely want to use judgment to decide what is or is not appropriate to share.
Sharing my life stories has infused my speaking engagements with vigor, color, and audience engagement. In this context, my story is useful as a teachable experience with which my audience can empathize.
When I share my story of how I almost committed suicide, I know I can make my audience go as silent as a church mouse. I know it when I hear the silence: they understand me and emphasize with the drama of hopelessness which plagued me at a young age.
But they also get to hear about how I beat back my disadvantages to build myself to who I am today, appearing on TED and growing into a national speaker. They get to hear about how I became a father to two wonderful boys. They are with me for this emotional roller coaster and it is here where I can show them what I've learned from my story.
How about the power of your story? Please share with us what you think in the comments below!
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