2: The Simplest Way to Tell a Story
Sometimes, even the most gifted storytellers get stuck. If you have a story to tell, here’s a way to quickly get started. Structure your story using the SOAR method.
Set the Scene: Tell us where you are, who you’re with, and your situation.
Obstacle: What are you up against? What’s your goal? Every story begins with a world out of balance.
Action: What did you do about the obstacle? If there is a problem, you take steps to solve the problem.
Results: What was the outcome? Maybe you succeeded and reached your goal. Or perhaps you failed utterly. Or maybe you overcame that obstacle only to be confronted by the next hurdle.
An Example of a Story Using SOAR
A friend of mine recently told me a story. She might not have known it, but she was using SOAR.
Set the Scene
Because of the COVID-19 virus, school is canceled. It feels a little scary and uncertain. Our house is a little too small for the whole family under the best of circumstances. My oldest daughter, Jane, is in a dark mood. She’s old enough to understand just how bad this can all be. And yet, she’s stuck in the house, away from her friends.
Henry and I are working from home. The only real workspace is our tiny kitchen table. Jane is sitting with us, trying to keep up with homework and her friends. There’s just not enough room, and things are getting tense.
Jane looks up from her laptop. “Holy crap.”
“What?” Henry and I ask at the same time.
“It’s Bill’s 90th birthday.”
Bill is the neighbor that everyone looks to for help. If your sink is dripping, or you need someone to water your plants while you’re on vacation, Bill is the first to step up. The entire neighborhood loves him. Because he is right next door to us, my family is very close to him. But Jane is closest to him of all. He is her surrogate grandfather, confidant, and provider of small hard candies. He used to give her two pieces of candy and tell her, “One for now and one for later.”
With the COVID-19 virus going around, we’re not going to host a party. And, just visiting with Bill at this point feels like it’s putting his life at risk.
Jane comes up with an idea. What if we each write a birthday card and tape it to his window so that he can read it from inside? We scramble around the house, looking for birthday cards. Nothing.
We take our laptops off the kitchen table and break out the construction paper and crayons. We each write heartfelt messages on brightly colored construction paper. When we finish, we show each other our handiwork. On Jane’s birthday card, there’s a brightly colored piece of candy taped to the corner. Beside it, she wrote a note. “One for later.”
We find the tape and march over to Bill’s kitchen window, the one that looks toward our house. Jane taps on the window, and after a minute, Bill comes to the window and looks out. We all sing happy birthday, then one by one, we tape our birthday greetings to the window. Jane is last. Bill sees the piece of candy and loses it. We all lose it.
We make our way home with hugs.
As we reach the side door to our house, my cell phone rang. I thought it was going to be Bill. Instead, it was the neighbor across the street, Ramona. She asked me what we were doing, and I told her. I look at Jan and add, “It was Jane’s idea.”
Ramona walked over to Bill’s house and took a picture. About five minutes later, I see that Ramona has posted the photo on Facebook and tagged Jane. Then, one family at a time, our neighbors walked over to Bill’s house and put up their cards. Pretty soon, the house is festooned with colorful paper on the windows.
More neighbors tagged Jane on social media and thanked her for such a bright idea. Today, the world feels friendlier, and we don’t feel so alone.
Do You Have a Story to Tell?
Share your story here: https://thriveconnectcontribute.com/pitch-a-story/