What is YOUR Story?

I had the pleasure of spending time over the holidays with most of my brothers. I have six; the one who lives in Texas didn’t make it east this year. Jon, the eldest, is quite a storyteller. You’ve heard of “fish tales”? In my family we have “The World According to Jon”. It’s always entertaining when he regales an uninitiated guest with one of his “tales” of growing up in our family. Usually by the second or third sentence at least one of us has chimed in, “that is not what happened.” Somehow, when Jon tells a story the lines between fact and fiction get blurred. He calls it “embellishment.” If he is recanting a story about you, this can be alarming. He is masterful at getting people’s attention. Often the discussion that follows is even more entertaining than the story itself.

I was introduced to storytelling as a tool, i.e. Andy Goodman and Kivi Leroux Miller, last year during pre-service training for Volunteer Maryland Coordinators. Other leaders in the story-telling arena include Michael Margolis and Seth Godin. Telling an engaging, evolving story is a technique invaluable to nonprofits and volunteer coordinators. Seth points to TOMS Shoes as an exemplary nonprofit that gets ambassadors to spread the word by telling a compelling story. Is your story an invitation to join the cause and spread the word?

I was so inspired by the biographical stories on Michael’s blog and website that I experimented with writing my resume as a story last spring. Recently I registered for his webinar, How to Tell Your Story with a Better Bio. I definitely need some guidance. My attempts during the holidays to practice the story crafting techniques Patrice taught us to were less than successful. And, the Maryland Nonprofits’ 19th Annual Conference is coming up in March. Michael Margolis is the keynote speaker! His story: “I’m left-handed, color-blind, and eat more chocolate than the average human.” I am still working on mine. . .

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