Seven Steps to Generate A Good Story and Connect With Your Audience
In this article, I would like to create an avenue through which you can learn a great way to connect with your audience. One way of doing this is by sharing a story from your own life. Believe me, as long as it's authentic, you will connect with someone, and it will make a difference in his or her life.
It's also worthy of note that you should be gracious with yourself during the process of finding a personal story you can share with others. Allow yourself some time and space for the journey into the world inside you, and let your story gently unfold before your very eyes. I hope you discover the unique story inside you and find the courage to share it with the world!
I'm going to share my story with you on how I transitioned from being a teacher into a writer. There are seven necessary steps I usually employ to generate a good story from my personal life, and this helps me connect with my audience in my writing and speaking presentations. You can as well use these steps to achieve similar results in your chosen field of endeavor. Remember, you can alter these seven steps to suit your communication medium. Here, I would use my writing business as a case study.
1. Share the structure of your story
You have to share the structure of your story, which is the opening part of the story. Here is where you set the context of where you've been. Where you are and where you're going next. You set the stage and grab your audience's attention. It could go like this:
Hello, I'm Heather, and I want to share with you (the concept you're teaching on). Let me begin by sharing my story with you. I was teaching in East Los Angeles for about 15 years when one day I sat down at the lunch table and realized I don't think I can do this for 15 more years until my retirement. I decided to resign from the school district after completing a leadership course in life coaching. I'm the boss, and I say what goes; I own a business here in town. I set my working hours when I want and go where I want. I'm heading toward securing for myself a prosperous future characterized by financial freedom, health, and spiritual connection through transparency, acceptance, and encouragement. I will manifest, execute, and demonstrate that independence, and I want to feel courageous in believing in myself and others.
2. Share your struggles
You want to share your struggles. Build trust with your audience on the other side of the screen, the most critical part. You want people on the other side of the screen to begin to get absorbed with what you're saying and who you are as a person. They get connected with you and say to themselves, "Wow, this person gets me. She understands where I've been and what I'm going through right now." Here's an example:
You see, this was a struggle I had. There I was sitting at the lunch table. Teachers who for so long had made the best of their situation. I fixed my eyes on five different teachers who were getting ready for their retirement party at the end of the year. I could hear their conversations being shared in frustration and in a tone of 'that's the way life is.' One of the teachers had to get a part-time job to make ends meet. That's ridiculous!
It will be painful if you work for 30 years giving your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears to an institution serving the greater community of Los Angeles and eventually get so little for it.
I also noticed a lot of them had health issues. They were all overweight, dealing with fibromyalgia, diabetes, and high blood pressure. I noticed that I was experiencing stress myself. My skin hurt to the touch, I was overweight, and I didn't realize how much stress I was carrying around just working for the school system.
A lot of programs were closing at the time, which meant my classroom grew larger. I found it very difficult to help the students meet their unique needs according to their I.E.P.'s- Individual Education Plans because I did not get enough support. All across the district, this was also true for many teachers. I felt worn out all the time.
3. Talk about your turning point in life
You want to talk about your turning point in life. So, in this part, you show the direction where you want to go and what you want them to join you on your quest to getting there. This turning point is the defining moment as to why you are going to accomplish the vision of your future, no matter what comes your way. What was your defining moment? Was it on the side of the road with an epiphany? Or, maybe a near life-and-death situation occurred? Maybe you just sat one day and had a conversation with someone, and through it, you discovered what you needed to do. Here's mine:
I knew that I had to get out. I realized that this was not the life that I had always wanted to live. So one day, I woke up from a dream, and I distinctly remember that in my dream, I heard a voice, 'Get up and look at your emails.' I got up, grabbed my coffee cup, and then went to sit on a couch.
When I opened my email inbox, I saw a message at the top of the email thread, it was an email from a friend of mine who had given me the same video for a year, but I always ignored it. This time, I watched the video and was fascinated by the content; I began to have a new dream that I could have the life that I wanted and that I could create it now. I said within me, 'I don't have to continue in the teaching profession for 15 more years and wait until I retire to go try to find this author's life!' It just struck me…I'm just going to go for it! I'm just going to throw my hat over the wall!
4. Share your journey of discovery
You want to share your journey of discovery. What was the process that got you into the writing you want to do? Here is an example:
I tried to find a better alternative to my teaching job, where I could work from home so I could have time freedom, pay my mortgage, pay my bills, work on my writing, and be with my family.
So, I took the risk and opted to walk into my principle's office and share with him that I was not returning the following year. I committed myself to learn the business of writing. I enrolled in writing courses and self-development courses to help me sharpen my skills in this new conversational domain.
I communicated with my family and shared with them my WHY for making this bold move in my life. The WHY is what keeps you motivated during the difficult times in your writing business when you feel like quitting.
It was clear I wanted time freedom, pay my mortgage and bills, work on my passions, and be with my family without being over-stressed from working in a hostile environment.
5. The epic stage
You go into the epic stage. In this stage, you talk about your passions and how you will get paid for your desires. You talk about what your wishes are in life and what you realized was right for you. Think about the vehicle that will drive you to get to where you're going.
Is it blogging?
Is it writing for a publishing company that serves youth?
A travel magazine?
Is it a community or a nonprofit organization that aligns with your beliefs?
You may talk about how your mindset has changed to get you to where you want to go. You must also get rid of the 'stinking thinking' like "I can't do this. I'm not smart enough. I don't have enough money," and so on. Here's mine:
I knew I had to change my lifestyle. I had to learn how to believe in myself and others going after my dreams. I have always wanted to be a published author. I have a desire to be listed as a New York Time's number 1 best seller. What writer wouldn't want that? Right?
If I wanted to be successful, I knew I needed to shake things up in my life. To think about that was scary for me. I stepped out and learned to write a children's fantasy story. I kept working on my skills. Then I wrote another one. I was able to query my children's books and get published after I resigned from the school district.
Also, I learned how to create book trailers by myself and learned how to market a book in the marketplace. I also had a grand book launch that could never have happened before had I not learned these skills. And that's awesome!
6. Do the breakdown
You do the breakdown, and this is where you begin to teach the audience how to attract people's interest and get them to accept and believe your vision. During the breakdown, you have to be very specific in talking about the thing you want them to join, like a course you created. Or to buy your books. Where can they buy it? How is it relevant to your audience? Sharing your vision with people in your life, like your family. Your description could look something like this:
OK, look here, people. My vision is to create financial freedom in my life, and I'm going to do it. My mission is to execute financial freedom confidently and powerfully through my writing income streams.
The best expression I've found is in a quote by Jim Morrison, who says, 'Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free!'
7. Call to Action
The final step is the C.T.A., Call to Action. Depending on your communication medium, you could have the target audience respond to your writing or speaking engagement by calling them into action. Buying your books, signing up for your webinar, maybe even join you on a coauthor writing adventure.
Let's say you've become established as an author, and you now have a coaching business for writers. The conversation could go something like this:
You're going to click the link below, and as you enter, sit down and watch these videos. Turn off all distractions and watch every video that follows.
Choose powerfully to commit yourself to this writing business and commit to the following coaching sessions that are going to help you become successful in your industry. When you do that, we will set up your first one-on-one coaching session, where I will break down the business with you by creating a 90-day road map to help you attain your goal of creating the lifestyle you desire.
At this point is where you lay the concept before your audience, thereby revealing the opportunity they can access to create this same kind of path or lifestyle that you created for yourself. It's all about how they are going to move from where they are right now to where they want to be. C.T.A. is more or less your effort in motivating them to get started without any delay.
As an author, you want your target audience to buy your books and commit to your mailing list.
As a speaker, you want your target audience to commit to staying engaged with your topic.
As a speaker, you want your target audience to commit to staying engaged with your topic.
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free!"
If you would like to dive deeper into this topic, check out my book
For further reading, check out the following articles: