Dominoes Episode Twenty-Six

Charley was faced with a dilemma. The interns had done a great job over the past week working on their skill traits. They had made significant progress, but he knew that more progress was needed. The dilemma was that they were getting anxious to begin thinking about their projects. Charley needed to move forward on two fronts: the development of skill and aptitude traits and the development of their plans for making a difference.

“I’m going to ask you to begin thinking about your plans for your difference project”, began Charley. “The first domino is the stories you want to frame. Let’s spend the day conceiving your stories. I would like you to write them to be told. Write as if you would be telling the story. Keep them short but impactful. Remember you are trying to create an image that moves others to care.”

“Tomorrow I want you to practice telling your story to the rest of us. Each of you should be prepared to tell three stories.”

Here’s how this might work. I’ll ask each of you to share with us one of your stories. We will do all 10 stories back-to-back. Then I will call on each of you randomly to retell a story of another intern. No notes. I want to see how sticky your stories are.”

“The brothers Chip and Daniel Heath suggested six keys to sticking stories in their book Made to Stick(1): Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Short2). I would add one other criteria to your stories: Inspirational.”

Charley wasn’t sure how well this would work, but the results were far more than anything he had expected. He had never been so moved in his life as he was by the stories. The interns had written them from personal experience. They delivered them in what was often a halting voice, barely holding back their emotions. The interns were clearly moved and there were tears flowing.

What surprised Charley was how well the introverts did. In fact, you would never have been able to guess who was an introvert by their presentations. The interns were also clearly exhibiting many of the aptitude traits especially empathy, awareness, generosity of spirit, and values-focused. The stories were making them grow as difference makers.

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“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” – Iyanla Vanzant (Inspirational Speaker)


(1) Made to stick, Chip Heath, Daniel Heath, Random House
(2) The final S in the Made to Stick list was Stories

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Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.