Dating formula for storytelling

Your book is a longer version of your story.

Do you feel awkward when meeting people for the first time?

Now that events are back, we have to re-learn how to talk to people at business and professional gatherings again. It’s like meeting someone on a first date—awkward!

One author, speaker and dating coach, who I recently met, had a beautiful answer. Dumari St. Angelo shared a formula that creates instant rapport and emotional connection with anyone you meet. 

It immediately appealed to my storytelling genes and I saw how it could be applied in all kinds of business situations. Dumari’s formula was like a shortcut to the Hero’s Journey.

I think you might find it useful too.

Dumari explains that one common dating question is, "What do you do for fun?"

She suggests this formula as an answer:

  • Now
  • Past
  • Future

This means saying something about the now, sharing something from the past, and ending with a wish for the future.

For example, you might answer by saying, "I like to go rock climbing." 

But using this formula, you might say, "I like to go rock climbing on the weekends. When I was growing up in Montana, my dad often took me camping and rock climbing on the weekends. I hope I can do the same when I have kids in the future."

See how this instantly turns the answer into a story?

Do you feel that emotional connection?

You see how it’s an origin story for the speaker?

If you answer questions this way, you’re no longer sharing facts. You’re sharing an origin story and a future goal.

How does it play out for you as an expert?

This formula is the shortcut to sharing your origin story of mastery as an expert.

For example, someone at an event might ask you, "What do you do?"

Instead of saying, "I’m an insurance broker," you can apply the formula: Now, Past, Present.

You might say, "I help protect people with insurance. I used to be a firefighter until an injury forced me to look for another way to protect people. I hope to protect another 5,000 people in the coming decade."

That’s what I call your Expert Origin Story™ in a nutshell.

Shall we write your origin story? 

I’m happy to chat

As you can see, you can use this formula in many ways.

I’d love to hear what you come up with. 

Happy meeting people again!

by Helen Chang, ABM Editorial Director

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