It’s all about the stories

  • “I love your stories.”
  • “Your stories touched me right here,” she said pointing to her heart.
  • “Your story about your grandmother brought me back to a deep and painful memory about my own grandmother.”
  • “I can just picture your father saying that on the beach.”

None of my fellow worshippers mentioned my erudite theological reflection; no one complimented my scriptural exegesis; and no one was wowed by the sophisticated metaphors I crafted for my first ever sermon, preached this past Sunday at the Montauk Community Church.

It was all about the stories. A story about my father embracing his life, even near the end of a 21-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease. A story about facing my fears and finally getting up on that stand-up paddle board. A story about my grandmother’s zest for life and the abundant bowl of creamy mashed potatoes she regularly encouraged me to eat.

The stories are where we find connection; where we find kindred spirits; where we find comfort in recognizing that we are not alone.

As I continue to write my memoir, counsel college application essay clients, write grant proposals, and coach other writers, I’m going to keep reminding myself and my clients that it’s all about the stories.

Quick – Elevator Doors Opening!

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression — the “Elevator Pitch.” You have a minute or less to tell about yourself, your business, your project, your passion, before the elevator doors open and your fellow rider gets off. What do you say?

You’re a high school senior and you have no more than 650 words to tell your story to a overworked, tired college admissions officer. You are a non-profit organization constrained by grant application guidelines.  In order to communicate effectively in a limited time and space, you need to have a clear sense of who you are, know the specific purpose of your communication, and understand who your audience is.

Crafting a mission statement is a good place to start. Mission statements can be tailored to the particular purpose of the communication and the particular audience.  For example, the mission statement for my business, Montauk Writer, is to help individuals and non-profit organizations effectively communicate their stories.  My personal mission statement is to live faithfully by serving others, always looking to God for my direction.

Who’s riding in the elevator with you and what do you want to tell them? Quick — the doors will be opening before you know it!