The following seven steps will help you craft a succinct and powerful story.

1. Introduce yourself

Give your name, neighborhood, or Ward. Include your organization (if applicable). We encourage you to describe yourself as “a member of [Your Organization or Group].”

Share how you are affected by your specific/collective issue. Are you a returning citizen? Are you the family member of a returning citizen? Bring your "real face" to the meeting.

State your issue and position. Let your listener know what you want them to support or oppose (or do). This helps your listener focus.

2. What happened?

What happened before you received the help/assistance/etc. you needed? Keep this brief--think about the most important thing you’d like your listener to know.

3. What helped?

Describe what helped in your situation (or would have helped). This adds a hopeful tone and helps show the value of the services, programs, or policies for which you’re advocating.

4. How are you different today?

Share what is going right in your life or how you are experiencing your current situation. This concludes your personal story on a positive note that inspires.

5. What is the need or problem?

Mention the problem or need you want addressed. Transition to the challenge(s) faced by people living in the situation you’re describing.

6. What will help others?

Talk about what will help. Let your listener know what services, programs, or policies will address the need or problem you described.

7. Make your "ask"

Ask your policymaker if you can count on their support (or opposition). Include a bill number, if possible. Thank your policymaker for his or her time.

Download this Storytelling PDF, it has the seven steps and a storytelling pratice sheet.