You know how important it is to sell yourself while interviewing or speaking to a prospect, don't you? However if you're like most of us, you feel very uncomfortable tooting your own horn. Am I right?

Well here is a suggestion to help you stand out from other candidates, or other pitches by getting your point across in a story.

Yup. Stories not only help you to be more memorable and persuasive, you can use them to get that benefit of 'you' out without seeming boastful. For example a story on How you helped a client; worked in a team; saved money. Telling a story well requires skill. Here are three tips to improve your success.
I/You Ratio

When we converse with people, we always talk from our point of view. The focal point is what you did, what experience you had, what happened to you. However people don't care about you - they care about themselves. Someone that interviews wants to make sure they are hiring the right person for their company. That they're making the right decision. The same for sales - people care about what you/your product will do for them. There rework your story away from I, me and bring them into it.


How do you portray the story from the listeners' perspective? Instead of beginning with "I cut overheads by 10 per cent" change it to "You must have times when you need to have your staff try to help you cut costs. It was the same with our company and I was able to reduce costs by 10 per cent by...". Their ears will perk up with every 'you' they hear. See how you can change an I statement to one with four you's?


Good stories have flesh and blood characters and dialogue. Tell your story through the conversations that occurred. Describe the people, the weather, set the scene. People think in pictures. Draw them with your words. Use specifics. Instead of simply saying last year, you would say It was a Tuesday afternoon, the normal Auckland drizzly spring you have in Mid-October.

Hollywood it

The story doesn't have to start in the beginning, nor told in sequence A through Z. Movies don't do that. Go for the dramatic statement, one that grabs and makes one want to know more. Then you go and back fill the story.

To highlight how your idea saved money you story could start: "You just saved this company $100,000" my manager Phil said with glee. Let me explain. You might have had cost cutting measures in your company like we did one year ago.... "
Have any good stories in this vein? Please share them with us.

Written by international speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith For more tips, sign up for her monthly newsletter here.