How To Be the Point of the Story Without Making It All About You

Hello_my_name_is_awesome_large Everyone wants to sound great in an interview, but how do you convey your strengths without tooting your own horn?


Share stories where your actions made others shine
Focus on how your actions impacted the behavior of others. Perhaps you created a process that allowed other members of your team to be more efficient or you solved an interpersonal conflict that was ruining the vibe in the office. Instead of framing the story in terms of what you did and what you accomplished as a result, tell about how you identified the problem, what you did to solve it, and what your team was able to accomplish as a result.


Avoid dwelling on the spoils
Lingering too long on the victory of sinking the winning basket or landing the big sale can come across as being interested only in winning or being publicly recognized. Do share big successes, but focus your story on the hard work, the teammates, the responsibilities you took on and the challenges you overcame to succeed. Nobody wins the Super Bowl for the ring, and your prospective boss should not think you will do your work only for the money or the free lunch.



Focus on conscious choices and hard work rather than natural ability
If Usain Bolt were to tell a story about his winning the gold medal and setting the world record in the 100 meters, his natural ability (and the legs that come with his 6’5” frame) would seem to be the obvious source of his success. However, If Usain Bolt instead were to tell the story about the time he came in second in the Jamaican olympic trials after backing off on his training, then the unexpected things about his focus and dedication in training would come to the fore. Even the most brilliant among us has situations when our reach slightly exceeds our grasp or when we had to learn something new or buckle down to succeed. The story of how you handled these moments tells more about how (and whether) you will persevere when you hit a roadblock in the workplace or are presented with a novel challenge.




Connect the experience to the current moment
Avoid the “Friday Night Lights” trap where you give the impression that your greatest moments happened in high school or college. Each victorious moment must be on the road to somewhere. Your interview stories should focus on the future and sell the great person you are, not be a wistful journey down memory lane.


Would you like to learn how to improve your interviews by telling stories? Check out our Sell Yourself With Stories WebClass.

Posted by Dena Evans