You Have a Great Story: Tell it Like a Pro!

I attended a great session recently on storytelling conducted by Brian Harrison, SEMA and Kate Sigety, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at an ASAE Annual Meeting.

The following are my notes taken from their presentation.

They started by telling the history, the process and the different perspectives of telling a great story for your members, associations and your career.

Here we go!


  • 8.7 million species in the world, only 1 can tell a story, us!  Cave scrolls to books, to TV to Facebook walls.
  • Purpose has not changed in storytelling.
  • What has changed is the delivery (Think social media, instant communications).

The Process

  • Three steps (connect, create, communicate)
  • Connect - with your audience, what are their values, what are their needs and how can you reach them?
  • Create - remember the basics, keep it simple, show, don't tell, build from your mission (think child stories that we remember).
  • Communicate - pick your platforms, produce a dialogue, get feedback, analyze results.

Storytelling Perspectives

For your members - make them care.

  • Stories vs messaging.
  • Messaging without stories equals cold and inauthentic.
  • Stories in support of messaging equals connection and motivation.
  • The best story is one that doesn't require you to tell it.
  • Your stories need to be: engaging, emotional, entertaining and scalable.

For your association - stories will always be told by your members, make sure they are the stories you want told.  Attach emotion to your association's:

  • Member benefits;
  • Annual meeting;
  • Research; and
  • Education opportunities.

For your career - you are responsible for your story, own it!

  • Do you believe in your story?  If you don't, no one else will.  Think passion!
  • What is the "Why" in your story?  The "How" will not survive without a strong "Why."
  • Your story doesn't have to be perfect!
  • Attitude - your attitude affects your story, which is your prophecy.  Create your own narrative.  Integrate into your resume and LinkedIn and be persuasive.

At the end of the day, create stickiness with your stories.  It was a great presentation and their final words - Lead with a story!