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Professional Anthologies: Client Stories

Clicking through our Consultant’s Corner demonstrates Change Often’s love of storytelling and commitment to using those stories to ignite hope. In case you haven’t heard, we have the honor of working with a truly inspiring client base - our day-to-day consists of interacting with people devoted to building better communities through all kinds of different approaches! It is rewarding work, and I for one feel incredibly lucky to do my job. 

I hope you, reader, have the opportunity to do work you feel passionate about - it is so easy to talk about the things you love. As professionals, though, the capacity to speak about your work as if you are passionate about every detail is a special opportunity to build stories and relationships. This is where we flip open our professional anthologies, and begin a new entry on Client Stories.

Whether you are making a pitch, refilling your coffee at a networking event, or sitting next to someone interesting on an airplane, it is hard to avoid talking about how you earn your keep. You may not think you have a job in sales or onboarding, but if you are able to connect with the part of you that motivated you to do your thing in the first place, you may open some surprising doors!

Conversely, if you are working a job just out of financial necessity, you may have a little bit of time and passion left over to pour into a favorite hobby or interest. If you want to pursue this passion further, frame it in your mind like a work project and advocate for its advancement. In the age of the internet, you can transform a hobby to a hustle to a full-time gig without facing many insurmountable barriers.

Whether it’s your 9-5 job or your after-hours interest, how you share your passion has a huge impact on how people react. Planning out some strategic talking points will help others listen, participate, and contribute to growth.

Help Others Listen: A meandering monologue about the little delights of your day job will work for small talk, but if you’re in an elevator with a recent lottery winner looking for the next best thing, you should have your key takeaways picked out and practiced. Want to know a secret about practicing how you say something? The more you practice something, the less rehearsed it sounds. Knowing how and why you say what you say leaves room for emotion to shine through, and that creates an engaging story. Especially if you are making an ask of somebody, practice what you need to say, out loud, multiple times, until it feels natural. This will make you a delight to listen to, which will set you apart and make you memorable.

Help Others Participate: Understanding the story of the work you are doing and stating it well leads listeners to connect their own work to yours. If you forget to mention a key function you execute, you may miss an opportunity to collaborate! Sharing where your work started and where it is now will inspire the people around you, or remind them of their own growth. Feeling like you have potential, that you have achieved something, is one of the most powerful mindsets for evoking change. Entrust your listeners with your whole timeline - they will appreciate the vulnerability and admire your work - and sometimes, they will feel compelled to join in alongside you.

Others Will Continue Growing With You: An engaging story that outlines your challenges, growth and success makes for a very special kind of pitch. Inviting your listeners into your growth mindset work will give them what communication psychologists call “psychological standing,” or a feeling of agency and empowerment about your area of work. They may not have the professional capacity to do the work you told them about, but they will be much more likely to support you in it, and remember you when capacity opens up.

Your professional anthology helps the world understand you, and your client stories teach the world about your values and commitment. As a social innovation firm, we expect our team members to bring their full selves to the table, and sharing our client stories is our favorite way to show our community who we are.