5 techniques for uncovering terrific employee stories

Prepare questions, but stay curious and divert from your planned path. Ask about experiences. And always include the ‘why.’

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How to uncover great stories

Sometimes the most compelling stories are just a few questions away.

I recently interviewed someone for a feature about their passion for aviation.

As we chatted, I could tell she loved being around aircraft in her job and in her personal time, but I couldn’t quite understand why. I asked if her love of aviation was instilled by her parents. No, not particularly. A teacher? No. I could have given up at this point and accepted that she simply just loves planes, but I had a gut feeling there was more to it.

So, then I said: “Tell me about the first time you flew on a plane; what was that experience like?” She then told me that her first time on a plane was when she was flown out of war-torn Afghanistan as a child refugee.

And there was my story.

Good stories can be hard to find, and they’re more important than ever as we focus on quality over quantity. Here are tips for finding vivid and even fascinating stories:

1. Use your feet.

Stories won’t come to you. Most people don’t even realize there is a story to tell, or they’re so busy that it hasn’t even crossed their mind that they should communicate it.

You have to be out and about in the organization meeting people, hearing what’s going on and recognizing when there might be a story to investigate.

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