Sharing your personal story to earn trust

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If I asked you to tell me your sto­ry right now, you’d prob­a­bly have some­thing to say. Right? But how often do you pur­pose­ful­ly share your sto­ry to earn trust?

In search of trust/winning trust

We are all in search of trust. We want—need—the deep trust of our friends, spous­es, col­leagues, and cus­tomers. We earn trust when we do what we said we would do. We lose trust when we go back on our word and break promis­es.

And when that hap­pens, rela­tion­ships get tricky. Life gets hard. In fact, it’s hard to make mon­ey when you don’t have someone’s trust. It’s hard to com­mu­ni­cate when you don’t have trust. (Thank you, Seth Godin, for teach­ing on trust and con­nec­tion.)

So…how do you get trust?

Sto­ries. I believe sto­ries are the most effec­tive and FASTEST way to build trust with peo­ple. For this article/post, I’m going to argue your per­son­al sto­ry is a great place to start.

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]Stories are a fast and effec­tive way to build trust.[/shareable]

What happens when you share your personal story

  1. You take a chance
  2. You make your­self vul­ner­a­ble
  3. You con­firm that you’re human
  4. You pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty to become a part of some­one else’s sto­ry

The biggest personal story mistake

The biggest mis­take peo­ple make when they tell their per­son­al sto­ry is shar­ing TOO MUCH. They pro­vide unnec­es­sary details and say things that don’t mat­ter. They think they’re telling a bet­ter sto­ry. You want to run away. But can’t.

I’m not say­ing that your grand­moth­er or sis­ter are not important—but when you share your “per­son­al sto­ry,” it doesn’t need to include every­thing. Here’s why:

The best stories leave OUT details

Think about your favorite book or movie. I bet they left out details.

For a quick illus­tra­tion, I’ll pick Break­ing Bad, Sea­son 5, Episode 7: “Say My Name.” In the teas­er (the part before the logo), Wal­ter White demands that his com­peti­tor rec­og­nize every­thing he has accom­plished as a drug lord. It’s less about what is SAID and more about what’s NOT said. Declan ( the dude who whis­pers, “you’re Heisen­berg”) knows and under­stands who Walt is…and even though he delays giv­ing an answer—and we see plen­ty of infor­ma­tion on the screen—it’s whats in your head and heart that makes the scene so good. The scene is good because of the absence of dia­logue and details.

If you talk to any author or mas­ter sto­ry­teller, you will find this: they leave OUT details. They let your brain fill in the gaps.

Like­wise, if you talk to good musi­cians — they’ll tell you it’s the “space between the notes” that make the music GOOD. If you want your sto­ry stick longer and make a big­ger impact, it’s bet­ter to leave out the wrong details.

What are the wrong details?

Unnec­es­sary dates, peo­ple, and back­sto­ries are often where peo­ple get tripped up. They believe that in order for you to under­stand the full pic­ture, you must know every­thing about Grand­ma Helen’s life. But it’s not true. So here’s what you can do:

Know your punchline before you start

The punch­line of your sto­ry is the part that relates to the per­son you’re shar­ing with. Keep your sto­ry focused on THEIR sto­ry.

Yes, your per­son­al sto­ry should be cus­tom framed for the per­son you’re talk­ing to.

Keep in mind that peo­ple ARE inter­est­ed in you—but they’re also inter­est­ed in them­SELVES. They are look­ing for some over­lap. Where does your sto­ry and life pos­si­bly inter­sect with theirs? That’s your punch­line. When you use it effectively—they’ll fill in the gaps—THEN you have a con­nec­tion. This is what builds trust.

I’m not a storyteller

I used to think that only the “priv­i­leged few” were posi­tioned to tell their sto­ry. You know what I mean? The good sto­ry­tellers—those peo­ple with self-con­fi­dence and a gift­ed voice?

It turns out, accord­ing to sci­ence, that per­son­al sto­ries are the “glue” that bonds peo­ple togeth­er. We are sto­ry­telling animals—always craft­ing sto­ries in our heads about our life, love, future, and past. You don’t have to be a cre­ative writer to share good sto­ries.

[share­able cite=“Josh Mitchell”]Personal sto­ries glue us together.[/shareable]

Here’s my per­son­al sto­ry in a 122 sec­ond video. Take a look and let me know if we have ANYTHING in com­mon. I bet we have some­thing that over­laps.

[reminder]What chal­lenges do you have in shar­ing your per­son­al story?[/reminder]

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