[On] Point to Ponder: The Story Log Tool

Since developing the Story Log tool, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Clients and workshop attendees have shared consistently how much they value this simple tool. But what is it? How was it created? Well of course, there’s a short story behind that…

Image result for image what's your story?

Harry Potter … and The Story Log?
My daughter attends a school where the leadership program is modeled after the Harry Potter system of “houses” (e.g. Gryffindor). Like student council, only way more fun. Each house tries to acquire the most points to win the big end of year prize. In junior high, they learn the ropes of this system through “Orders.” Leaders of each group must be elected and…give a campaign-like speech in hopes of obtaining votes.

“But I Don’t Have Any Stories.”
My daughter was nervous and new to the school. What would she say in her speech? Her idea bank was on Empty. “Mom, I don’t want to list my accomplishments, that sound like I’m bragging. Besides, what would I say? I haven’t done anything important.” [Insert mom’s eye roll.]

The Story Log Form is Born
Starting with the facts, we sketched a list of her accomplishments to date.  (This became Column 3 of The Story Log.)  Academic awards. Spelling Bee competitions. Volunteer roles. We wrote the date and place these events happened (Columns 1 and 2).

The time limit was 5 minutes. How could she tell these short stories quickly and with interest? How could these stories have movement, drama, resolution? That’s where the secret sauce came in. We wrote before and after emotions. Then, writing her speech, we expanded on those. How did she before an event? Moving schools mid-year was traumatic, scary, paralyzing. How did she feel afterward? “But with perseverance and determination, I could succeed and make new friends.” Before and after emotions are the keys components to The Story Log. After all, it’s emotion that sells. Not numbers, facts, or figures but emotion.

Elizabeth won the Order Leader slot and propelled the “Order of Kranz” to victory. They won 3 out of 4 “Purple Ducks” that year. With that track record, she earned a 2nd term in 8th grade.

The On Point Story Log
I quickly saw the uses for this log with clients and have been using it with success ever since. It pulls clients out of the numbers. Out of the strictly logical thinking that often exists when formulating arguments, speeches, elevator pitches. It demands emotion and vulnerability. And most of all, it works.

Why It Works
The Story Log works because of Columns 4 and 6, 
starting and ending emotions (respectifully). When speakers tell these stories? It works. They captivate. Buy why? Brene Brown’s TEDx talk is one of the most watched of all time. Why? Because she explores the depths of her own thoughts, doubts, and shortcomings. She carefully explores the problem before sharing her path to success. She is vulnerable. She is human. She is like us.

Audience Identification
We like to listen to people who are like us. People who make mistakes, have fears, and experience doubt. We understand them. If we can identify with the speaker in these ways, we are with them to the end. We want to know …did success or failure follow? What did they learn from their experience?

Then we naturally move to our own experiences. What have I done in my life that is similar? When have I grown, made leaps in my learning? What can I share to help others?

Now What?
The On Point Story Log is one of the hallmarks of On Point Communications. We understand story. Contact us today to get started with one of our programs and journey through your own stories. They can become compelling – and authentic – material for your next talk, keynote, investor pitch.

Want Cindy to speak to your organization about the Story Log? Contact Cindy to request for an in-person workshop or on-line webinar.  Send an e-mail to info@onpoint-communications.com

Cindy provides public speaking coaching and brand consulting to entrepreneurs and small businesses who seek to master their message on stage, online and in publications. Her passion for crafting, analyzing and presenting messages developed through over 25 years in the corporate, academic and entrepreneurial worlds. Cindy coaches clients on pitch decks, TED talks, storytelling, presentation presence, brand messaging, PR strategy and more.


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“The On Point ‘Investor Pitch as Story’ online course was a great fit because of my heavy travel schedule. It gave me flexibility as a student to learn and connect with Cindy as necessary. The videos and homework helped me to prepare strong, compelling presentations for potential customers (coaches, directors, school districts) and becoming investor ready.”

Justin Fleming | CEO at MyPerforma

“Cindy was truly instrumental in getting a compelling, professional pitch deck put together. Without her structure and guidance on how to tell a compelling story, I know we wouldn’t have had nearly the success and traction that we have. I look forward to continuing to work with Cindy and making our pitch evolve alongside our business.”

Jennifer Henderson| CEO at Career Allies

“Cindy, Your coaching was fantastic. You are so good at this. I have done a lot of this too, but I am in awe of your approach, the simplicity of your suggestions and your general professionalism. Thank you.”

Susan Strong, Director at SAGE Boulder

“Last year, I reached out to Cindy to help me with a sales deck I use frequently. I learned how to personalize my presentation in an authentic and informative way, making it more interesting to deliver and for my audience to observe!  Cindy was professional, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable and her suggestions were spot on.  If you want to enhance your communication skills, gain confidence in speaking, and improve overall delivery, I definitely recommend working with On Point!”

Nicole Steed, Global Account Manager | Helms Briscoe

When you meet Cindy, you can’t help but feel engaged and pay attention. She clearly is an outstanding communications professional. The way she took the stage, conveyed her message and shared her approach to storytelling at the recent conference was mesmerizing.

Cindy made me rethink my approach to storytelling that I had used in my client work for many years. Cindy’s workshop alone made my trip to Denver worthwhile.

Ruth Winden, Executive Coach (UK)