Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sharing Your Story

In January, Family Voices Indiana will share its annual legislative guide. In the meantime, we wish to prepare you to be an effective advocate by passing along tips on sharing your story. These tips were based on Sharing a Family’s Story: A Tool for Family Advocacy by Iowa State University Extension to Families.

Families have an important role in sharing information and first-hand experiences with policymakers to help them understand the reality and complexity of situations that families face. Stories are powerful. Your story is powerful.

How do you tell your story effectively?
Remember you are speaking because you are a parent. Your family experiences are valuable.

• Think about what you will say in your presentation. Organize your ideas.

• Identify two or three main points you want the audience to learn.

• When you begin, briefly explain what your story will be about—
 “I am going to share the special joys my children bring and what I want for their future, as well as the difficulties I have had trying to get support and services for my family.”

• If you feel comfortable, use examples of what actually happens in your home, in your family, and at work. Situations or short stories help the audience remember these challenges are real for you and your family.

• Start with your present situation and then explain your experiences leading to this point.

• Use your own speaking style.

• Focus on the person to whom you are telling your story.

• Acknowledge your emotions. Telling your family story can be emotional, so take deep breaths and set boundaries on what you want to share.

• Briefly review what you said and what you want others to understand.

• Practice telling your story to others beforehand.

• After sharing your story, do something nice for yourself. You deserve it.

A free tool to help you prepare your story is the Telling Your Story app available on iTunes>>>.

We know this can be difficult for many families, especially since the issues can be of such a personal nature. To offset any financial considerations, we have the family leadership development fund to support your participation at meetings, committees, hearings, etc. And, we’re happy to help. Feel free to contact us and we’ll support you any way we can.

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