Educate others by telling your story

Stories are an effective way to teach and influence people’s thinking. Stories are personal and their images stick with listeners in ways that abstract ideas and data don’t. Whether you are invited to tell your story as an informal talk to a few people or to give a formal presentation to a large group, the more prepared you are the better chance you have at delivering a clear message that makes an impact.

Here are a few tips to help you effectively tell your story as a family advisor:

  • Construct a story that will teach:  Take time to reflect on your experiences. Decide on the particular point you want to make. Write down a portion of your personal story that teaches that point. Try using the 4 step framework included in the handout to help you with this process.
  • Get the feedback you need:  Seek feedback from those you trust. Get it early on. Ask for what details you could leave out and what would make your presentation stronger.
  • Deliver a polished presentation:  Recognize this involves managing nervousness, practicing good communication skills and being prepared in case you get emotional.
  • Respond to questions and answers:  Anticipate what questions the audience might ask and think through how you would answer them. Listen well, be brief in your responses and positive whenever possible.

Whether you are asked to join a committee that meets on a regular basis or provide feedback in a one time focus group, or something in between, participating in meetings as a family advisor is important work.

A small but important shift occurs when you become a family advisor. You move beyond advocating for your own child and family to collaborating with others for the benefit of all children and families. To be effective in this role, you must have a strong sense of self combined with good listening, critical thinking and communication skills.

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