To be interesting just tell your own story with uncommon honesty.
I love networking events, but I hate going to most of those. Some of the best learnings and interesting conversations I have had, have happened at networking events. A networking event is where I met a tech-savvy father who created incredible bedtime stories for his kids using technology. At another event, I unexpectedly met the entire cast of the hit HBO show Silicon Valley. However, despite these memorable experiences, I've always dreaded going to networking events, and just recently I realized why.
I hate introducing myself. I am not an interesting person. I haven't been in enough unbelievable circumstances that I can describe to a stranger in a hilarious way. I felt I lacked the captivating life experiences that anyone meeting me for the first time would care.
That's what I used to think. Then I read Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks and the key message in the book completely changed my mind.
“Don't get hung up on the big moments, the unbelievable circumstances, or the hilarious details. Seek out the moments when you felt your heart move”
I learned a long time ago that to be good at something, putting in the effort and doing the work to get good at it goes a much longer way than just relying on your natural abilities. Challenge accepted.
So in summer of 2023, I started putting in the work to become a better storyteller.
The book by Matthew Dicks has some practical exercises that I have started doing. One of them is called Homework for Life. Homework for Life is a daily exercise where you take a few minutes to reflect on your day and ask yourself one simple question:
“If I had to tell a story from today - a five minute story onstage about something that took place over the course of this day – what would it be? As benign and boring and inconsequential as it might seem, what was the most story-worthy moment from my day?”
For the past month, I've diligently practiced Homework for Life. Although it's too early to tell if it's made any difference in my storytelling abilities, or if it has increased my enthusiasm for networking events. it seems to have slowed down time a little. The last month has felt less like a bunch of days blurred together, and instead it's been a collection of memorable events that one day would be storyworthy when I introduce myself or when I tell a story.
To stay consistent with this habit, I created a simple app that sends me a daily email reminder. I respond to the email with my Homework for Life note, and all these entries are collected in a list for easy review. This way, I can identify potential stories to share whenever I introduce myself or recount an engaging tale.
If you want to practice Homework for Life, check it out here: Storyworthy Exercises
Tell me the facts and I'll learn. Tell me the truth and I'll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.