What I learned about storytelling from my first story on television as a reporter


 

I was quietly working away at my co-working space yesterday.

On the neighboring big screen TV flashed a large news headline

“25 Years Since Columbine.”

Gosh, it had already been two decades.

It was April 1999 and I had just moved from New York City (Population 9 million) to Casper, Wyoming (Population 50,000.)

The two guys from my Israeli moving company were world-weary from the cross country drive from Manhattan. They suddenly lit up like Christmas trees as they pointed and guffawed loudly from their open truck window.

“Look! Look!”

A herd of fawn-colored antelope, antlers held high, had just scooted past on the wide plain that stretched for miles before them.

I lingered at the window a few more minutes as the last traces of my urban life (at least for the foreseeable future) drove off.

This wasn’t punishment.

I had architected the whole thing.

When the clarion call came from a former classmate, looking for a general assignment reporter to join him at a CBS station in Casper, the answer was ‘yes.’

Cub reporters, early in their careers in 1999, went to small markets with fewer eyeballs to make their mistakes.

Tomorrow I would be starting at CBS affiliate KGWC-TV. I picked at the corner of my lone mustard-colored living room chair, where the fabric had peeled off, and wondered if it was even worth the Israeli’s hauling it cross country.

Day 1.

Hour 1.

A school shooting had happened in the neighboring state.

The parents in the immediate community were visibly shaken up. This incident, 300 miles away, hit too close to home.

I was tasked with finding parents and students who would speak to camera. What were they worried about? How would they keep their kids safe? How would children keep their peers safe? What conversations weren’t being had? What conversations needed to be had?

Storytelling around topics like this —-is hard.

Today, I find that my clients’ ability to do storytelling for business is hard.

In service of this, I share different frameworks with my clients to help.

For example, here is a framework from Tarana Kasana called “The Main Character Effect.” I shared it with my Mastermind as they ready to tell stories about seminal moments in their lives —-and tie it back to business.

I use my own example from the story above to help fill in example answers:

  1. Origin story:
    Where do you come from?
    I started as a local television reporter in Casper, Wyoming.

    What’s your background story?
    My very first story was covering the aftermath of the Columbine school shooting.

    How did you become this main character?
    It was my job to capture the community’s reaction, giving a voice to those shaken parents and students.

     

  2. Plot twist:
    What was the turning point in your life?
    Realizing the profound impact of truly understanding and conveying the emotions of my audience during a national tragedy.


    Was it a struggle or a negative experience?
    It was a deeply challenging experience, navigating the delicate balance of journalistic integrity and human empathy.

     

  3. Character development:
    How did you deal with it?
    By going out into the community and engaging directly with those emotionally affected.


    What did you learn from it?
    The importance of always tuning into the underlying concerns of your audience to truly connect and communicate effectively.

 

  1. Rebirth:
    Where are you now?
    I am now a seasoned communicator and public speaking coach who specializes in helping businesses understand and address their audiences’ deepest concerns.


    How have things changed?
    I’ve shifted from reporting news to empowering others in effective communication and audience engagement.


    What have you achieved since?
    I’ve helped numerous clients improve their messaging by focusing on what truly matters to their audiences.

 

  1. Evolution:
    What happens next?
    Continuing to expand my consultancy to help more organizations master the art of storytelling.


    What are your goals?
    To refine and innovate methods that connect businesses more deeply with their clientele.


    How are you getting there?
    Through hosting my Mastermind, speaking engagements, and 1:1 work with clients.

     

  2. Refocus:
    What are the key takeaways?
    Understanding and addressing audience pain points isn’t just about asking what they need—it’s about feeling the pulse of their daily experiences.


    Why should your reader care about these?
    Because mastering this can transform how you communicate, making your message not only heard but truly felt.


    How do these experiences benefit your reader?
    They equip you with the tools to engage and influence effectively, ensuring your storytelling not only resonates but also drives action.

Your answers to each of these points, is a new storytelling post.

To Recap

Think about

  • Life before

  • The Big Seminal Event

  • Life after

Sure, engage in really descriptive storytelling about your zone of genius.

But remember to marry that with your audience’s biggest pain point and articulate how you solve the problem today.

→ Today’s action step: Read back through this blog post and figure out one seminal moment from your life that you can tie to business. Choose just one to post about next week.

 

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Join the Samita Lab Mastermind.  Join 8 other women leaders in the core program that sits at the center of my business model. The Mastermind teaches you exactly how to build a powerful person brand and the mindset to support it. Learn how to do storytelling for business. Then harvest 1 thing that is universal and needs to be heard now for your TEDx talk on stage in front of 200 people at the end of the 12 months.

2. Download my E-book​   Join 50 women in reading this comprehensive book where I teach you how I landed my own TEDx Talk in 2013 and break down, step by step, how to land yours.

3. Take my “Art of Influence” masterclass​:  Join 3500 people in taking my mini public speaking Masterclass. Learn to organize a compelling talk and my framework for making it super easy.

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