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Practice Makes Practice (1 of 3): Searching for Stories

If you're anything like me, then you’ve  also learned that practice makes perfect is a fallacy. There's no such thing as perfection. There's just more practice.  We see this in the mindset and habits of top level professionals.   Professional athletes spend more time scrimmaging and reading the playbook than they ever do playing the actual game. Professional musicians spend more time practicing than performing.  

As business professionals, we spend a large percentage of our time communicating. As such, we should be adopting this same mindset.   How much are you practicing before a presentation?  How often are you simply getting in the reps to ensure when it’s critical, your skills are sharp? What kind of opportunities are you seeking out to upskill and get feedback?

In this series of blogs I’ll share with you one area of focus/practice I use to keep my communication sharp… storytelling.  Think of it like practicing free throws or practicing scales on an instrument. 

I use our Articulated Intelligence, With 1 Word® methodology, to practice searching for, shaping, and sharing stories.

We’ll start in this blog with the practice of searching for stories.

Spending time simply searching for stories will serve you well.  We all intrinsically understand why it’s important to incorporate stories into our communication, the challenge is how do we find stories to use?   

Here at Articulated Intelligence we our With 1 Word ® method to find possible stories for any situation.  Here are the tenets:

  • Pick one word, any word, perhaps related to a presentation you have coming up, then think of the First, Best, Last, Worst experience you’ve had with that word.  (Shout out to Mathew Dicks who introduced me to this format he learned from a producer of Moth Radio).

  • Don’t get stuck in your head, use "first thought/best thought" to let your mind free flow.

  • Use free association(“yes, and”) to expand your boundaries and find stories that may only be tangentially related, if related at all to the initial word.

You likely now have at least 4 stories or more.  Even if you just have one, it’s one more story idea than you had before.  I understand that this can be more difficult for some than it is for others, but that is the purpose of practice.   

This process allows you to do rapid iteration and prototyping in your mind.  Think about how powerful this can in more impromptu situations like a client asking you an unexpected question.  How blown away will they be when you answer their question with a story to highlight your point.  Boom!

Now that we've found some possible stories, it’s time to practice shaping them for impact and memorability. You'll have to stay tuned as we’ll cover that in the next blog, cliffhanger!

Until we meeting again I challenge you to practice finding stories over this next week.  Pick a word, any word and start iterating!

At Articulated Intelligence we can help guide you through this process, provide input and feedback, and hold you accountable.  Reach out we’d love to help you get to the top of your game.

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