“I go to places like Home Depot and ask for donations to improve the homes we acquire,” said a poised woman attending my course ‘Ignite The Power of Story,’ about telling stories to elevate donations for non-profit organizations.

I asked, ‘How do you pitch your request when you meet with the store manager?’ She answered exactly as I imagined she would. She said she tells them about the organization, describes what she needs and relates how it helps to make a difference.

Motivational Storyteller Eva Grayzel

While she was speaking, my mind was firing on all cylinders; I was listening to her answer while gathering more information from her appearance, body language and voice. She was extremely articulate in her practical shoes, with her neat appearance and uncolored straight hair. She had both feet on the ground, shoulder length apart, her arms by her side and chin held high. I was thinking, she is smart, a lawyer type, a methodical thinker. I wondered why she chose this job. So, I asked.

While she stared at the floor thinking, I rephrased the question, “Of all the jobs you could have chosen, why this one?”

She looked back up at me with a fire in her eyes that wasn’t there moments before. “I lost everything!” she announced. I immediately thought divorce or a fire. “I rebuilt myself a place to live, solely from recycled material with a virtually non-existent budget. Some might say my place is nothing more than a shack, but to me, it’s a home.”

I jumped, “Yes, that’s your story! Do you ever share it with the decision makers at Home Depot?” She looked back at me in confusion and shook her head vehemently.Even though it would have been interesting to know how she lost everything she owned, it wasn’t necessary information. This is a perfect example of how:

  • A personal story can still maintain personal boundaries.
  • A personal story demonstrates your work ethic and highlights your values.
  • A personal story inspires trust.

    This story would help managers feel immediately confident that whatever supplies they donated, would be put to the best possible use. Now, my only wish is to know how telling her personal story has served her in acquiring donations!

    What is a personal story you tell to engage potential customers and clients that also maintains personal boundaries? Please share!

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