What are the best stories you have ever heard? How long did you remember them? Do you still remember them? What made them memorable?

My guess is … they were personal stories and/or they were personalized and enhanced by the story teller.

The storyteller likely included passion, drama, humor and perhaps a bit of self-deprecation. The stories we remember strike a chord and often can be remembered instantly when a trigger event occurs. It could be a smell, a word, a picture, a sound or even a person. When your senses are aroused the memories come flooding back.

Pro Tip: When you are creating stories seek to include an anchor / a trigger event.

The goal is to tell your story the best way YOU can. Seek to include trigger events that work for the way you communicate best.

Some people paint incredibly vivid pictures with words. Some can do the same on the back of a napkin or whiteboard. Others will use hand gestures and may even jump up and down.

Choose the way that works for you.

Consume stories YOUR way too

Some people say … Never take notes or never write anything down. Because they feel that prevents them from being fully present in a conversation. That they miss non-verbal cues. While this may be true for some it may not be your style.

For me I like to take notes. I will often say “I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to make a few notes to make sure I capture the essence of our conversation.

Phone calls vs. in-person meetings

Yes, it is much easier to be distracted by other factors when you are on a phone call versus an in-person meeting. But I think that the person speaking … no matter where they are in the world deserves our respect and attention. Otherwise … why even be on the call?

Realities of Phone Calls:

  • I think we can all tell when the person on the other side of the phone is distracted.
  • They stammer, seem disconnected, and generally aren’t part of the conversation
  • This is worse on conference calls.
    • Note: This is why meetings should be abolished (not really, but the idea does have merit)

Whether you are sitting across the table from someone or on a phone call you need to consume stories your way too.

For me, I’m a note taker. I like to write things down and sometimes draw pictures. If this mode of consuming stories works for you great. If not, find a way that does.

Creating stories that resonate

Communicating in the way that works best for you allows you to create stories that resonate. In order to tell stories that stick with your audience you should find your Strategic Narrative.

Another options is to consider joining Toastmasters. Most people join to improve their speaking skills, but there is a little secret to Toastmasters that you’ll learn … you will also improve your thinking and organization skills too.

Communicating is a personal thing

Choose the way that works for you. Not only will you be glad you did, but so will the other parties that are part of the conversation. When done right your communication style comes through and helps people remember the message.

Communicating effectively is critical at all stages of your career. Whether you are just starting out and have a lot to learn or whether you have been doing something for a long time and have a lot to share. Taking the time now to think about your best way to communicate in the way that works for you will pay dividends today and in the future.


Jeff is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.