When I had joined a new organization, a colleague asked me “So, Sarah, tell me your story.”
I have shamelessly used this line when I am meeting new people to engage them to talk. It is phrased as a command but the person asking the question is showing interest in you. Most everyone enjoys sincere attention.
It was one of the kindest ‘questions’ ever.
What if the person replies with “I don’t have a story” or “I don’t know what you mean”? Then, it’s time to use a prompting question. But ask something that is pretty common and something you might be able to have in common. How about:
- “Where did you go to elementary school and what was your favorite lunch food?” Yeah. This is information never listed on a resume.
- Or even “what was your favorite cartoon as a child” can start quite a dialogue.
Everyone’s story starts somewhere, when trying to meet someone new, why not ask about their’s?
Dedicated to Jessica Barboline for asking for my story!
Over the years, many of my school teachers wrote a similar comment on my report card, “a joy to have in class but talks too much.” I urged my parents to focus on the “joy” but they wanted me to work on the “talking”. I now recognize my talking wasn’t negative but it might have been disruptive.
I haven’t stopped talking but I’ve gotten better at waiting my turn! So imagine my ‘joy’ when three people over the course of a weekend encouraged me to share my skill and comfort at conversation with others.
Through this blog, I hope to share ideas about how I use communication to connect with others. This ability has helped me in several industries such as fund raising, community relations school administration and now in sales.
Of course, I think I talked my husband into marrying me and I never stop talking to my three children (sometimes they even listen.)
I believe how we create dialogue with others is a key strategy for success. So I hope you offer feedback, question my ideas or suggest tips that have worked for you in the comments section. Of course, you can always e-mail me and we can just…talk.
I’ll get us started: “Hello, my name is Sarah. What is yours?”
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton