Celebrating Milestones

It’s graduation season.

I’m not sure about you but after all the losses of COVID celebrating any milestone, especially in person, feels pretty epic.

Epic Indeed

My son earned his BS this weekend from Oregon State University. There were 7000 graduates including doctoral and master’s degree students. It was pretty EPIC. It was even more sweet for our family. Since our daughter graduated college in the spring of 2020, she couldn’t have any kind of graduation ceremony that year. So this was a milestone we were ALL participating in.

I’m not going to lie. As a speaker, when I first read months ago who the commencement speaker was, I was a little disappointed. Dr. Charity Dean is an OSU graduate, and now is an internal medicine specialist and CEO of The Public Health Company. She wasn’t as famous as other commencement speakers and her bio didn’t grab me or make me think I’d relate to her story.

Stimulate Connection through Storytelling

When she began her speech, it launched right into four personal stories from her life. First, she talked about showing up at a funeral for someone whose scholarship she’d received to attend OSU. She shared that she had been kicked out of the pre-med program because she was failing her courses. She talked about being persistent, following up with opportunities that seemingly fell in her lap along her journey. How she got to where she is today, by changing her story and continuing to make choices that moved her forward. Her speech did NOT disappoint.

Each story was personal to her experience but also brought the audience in. We wanted to know more. Her stories were relevant to us regardless of how old we were or what stage of life we are at. In fact, during lunch after the ceremony, we chatted about which pieces of her stories resonated most.

From the Perspective of a Speaker

Storytelling is the MOST important part of being a speaker. While the stories are unique to the speaker they always have universal elements. When you make them relatable to your audience, they see themselves in your stories.

Telling a great story is one of my favorite parts of being a speaker. Crafting a story so it is relevant to my audience and they can see themselves in what I’ve shared is actually lots of fun.

Congratulations to all the 2023 graduates.

Your stories of resilience, adaptability, and tenacity to reach your goals despite a global pandemic will continue to inspire others. Make sure you share them.

Storytelling as a Tool for Managers

Graduation is one of the many milestones you could be celebrating this season. Storytelling, whether delivered by a professional speaker or simply among friends, has the power to connect any audience in unexpected ways.

When we share stories that are relevant to the challenges we are experiencing, they may spark inspiration for solutions. For managers, storytelling forms deeper trust with employees. By sharing personal experiences, our understanding of one another’s motivations and values is strengthened. 

How does your organization leverage storytelling to deepen connection and understanding? Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn