Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

#Peopleskills: Sharing Success Stories: Inspiration or Bragging

I was the guest on the #Peopleskills chat on Twitter on March 1, 2015, and we discussed the difference between sharing success stories and bragging. If you missed it. My answers are also below.

Q: How do you define success story?

A success story is something positive that has happened. Somebody helped you. You solved a problem that you hadn’t solved before. Something positive that has happened in your life. This can be personal, family-related or in the office.

Q: What are benefits/risks of sharing your success stories?

Once a story is shared you have created a record of it. You could even call it a historical record. People can now find it again, read it again and share it. It can inspire others. Your children might even be able to read it again in a few decades.

Somebody might want to have a lengthy discussion with you about the story and you didn’t really share it for that reason. Sometimes trolls get a hold of stories.

Also, there’s a fine line between sharing, self-promotion and bragging. And that line can be different for different people.

Q: When do you feel most excited to share your success stories?

When they make me feel good. Sometimes this can be an extraordinary performance or something unexpected happened.

Q: What is the difference between you sharing your success story or others sharing it?

When others share it it’s never bragging. It’s always recognition. It can mean more, but that’s not always a given. Depending on who shares it and how they share it this act may or may not be meaningful to you.

Q: When leaders share their success stories, what are they modeling for others?

That it’s OK to do. When leaders do this well, their teams can do it well, too.

Q: How does sharing your success story help/hurt others?

Others can learn from your story. That something is possible or how to do something specifically. They may even feel inspired.

Q: Sharing success story or bragging? What exactly is the difference?

There’s a fine line and that line can move for specific people. Let me give you an example of bragging:

I volunteer and deliver meals to senior citizens. Once I was short a meal. Instead of letting him go without a meal, I went to Subway and bought him a sub. Outside of this, I’ve never shared that story publicly. I felt like it would be bragging.

Interestingly, nobody else has ever shared it either – though had it come from the agency, for example, the sharing wouldn’t be bragging. It would be recognition.

Q: How do you best share your success story?

You could set up a blog and start there. Social media – like Twitter or Facebook – certainly are useful channels. I prefer blogs – internal or external – to be the best way, however. Social media – as much as I love it – is a bit like building your house on rented land.

Q: What have you learned from other success stories?

A lot. What works. What doesn’t work and how to overcome things.

Q: What role do people skills play in sharing your success stories?

You do want to consider other people’s perspectives, privacy and points of views. Maybe your success story wasn’t a success to them. Maybe they don’t want to be included in a public write-up. Maybe they do. The key is to talk to each other. Ask for permission.

Sharing our success stories can be useful to us for future reference, for inspiration of others and also can help our businesses.


Need help getting started sharing success stories for your organization or yourself? Contact me here to get connected.

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Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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