Mining for Stories

This is one of my favorite stories about the power of stories.

Every organization has a vast, untapped reserve of great stories with compelling characters at the center of them. As I say in the video, people don’t care about programs, they care about people. So finding someone relatable who embodies that program is essential to engaging and persuading your audience.

In the book I offer tips on how to go mining for stories, whether you need to humanize yourself for an audience or bring some dusty policy to life in the person of an employee or customer or other constituent. Here are some questions to ask yourself or them:


  • What do you love about your job?
  • What’s your favorite moment of the day?
  • What makes you proud?
  • What makes you jump out of bed in the morning to come to work?
  • Where does your job fit in the big picture?
  • How does it help achieve the organization’s goals?
  • Describe a challenge you’ve faced.
    • How did you overcome it?
    • What were the keys to success?
    • How did resolving it make you feel?


  • What are your hobbies or interests?
  • What does your family mean to you?
  • What do your kids think you do?
  • What did you want to be when you were growing up?
  • What did you study in school?
  • Who are your heroes and why?

That’s the beginning. Answering these questions and others like them will unearth the raw material you need. Shaping and crafting that material into a story is, as they say, another story, for another day.

Now get digging!