A Simple Way To Turn A Long Story Into One With Impact

On Tuesday, I arrived at a Corporate Office 1 hour before I was due to deliver a Storytelling Workshop.

As I was there a little early, I was invited to watch a panel that was the session before me. Where senior execs were sharing their career journeys and lessons learnt.

One of the questions asked was:

“What’s your career journey been so far”

and when it got around to one of the panelists, they started by saying:

“How do I summarise 17 years!?”

It got me thinking how difficult it can be to share a story that spans years or even decades.

Whilst you have to summarise, (otherwise the story itself would span years or decades), it helps to:

>> Highlight ONE specific moment

How do you do this though?

When i’m recalling / sharing a story like this, I like to think of myself as if I’m in a helicopter, hovering over my past.

It’s ok to whizz over it and explain the journey at a high level.

But you want to get to a point where you decide to come down, really close to the ground, to a specific *moment* in time that happened. 

Where you can almost see blades of grass, or the faces of the people, or whatever is happening in that scenario.

Then you want to share the details of what was happening in that specific moment. Why it’s a scenario worth sharing.

It’s sort of a bit like if you were scrolling through life as if it were a set of images in your phone.

Instead of scrolling through the years worth of photos at a time and not being able to see any one photo at all…… you stop for a moment at a really important time in your life and delve into some actual photos, so you can talk about something specific.

Here’s an example 

Switching from Cyber Security to becoming a Public Speaking & Storytelling Coach, there was a lot that happened over many years to influence me to make that change.

However, when I’m telling that story, I summarise some of it, but find a specific moment to share as well, where everything changed for me.

I generally summarise some context about how I was terrible at presenting when I was in the Cyber Security industry. How I simply shared information (and struggled to get true buy-in from stakeholders).

Then I explain how I watched the Simon Sinek TED Talk and realised I needed to figure out A) how he captivated my attention for so long and inspired me to change my behaviour and B) how I could replicate that. Which led me down a path of all things Storytelling.

Then I summarise the ending and what happened after, to get to this current day. 


If you’re ever on a panel, in an interview, or you’re asked a question about a story / experience that spans years or decades – think of the helicopter analogy. 🚁

It’s ok to summarise most of it, but if you can, find at least one specific moment you can zone in on and come back down to earth to describe it.

People will find it even more memorable as a result.  😁

Hope this helped!


P.S. For those that don’t know, I run a 9-Week Captivating Storyteller Group Program. It’s kicking off again in March 2023. If you’d like more details, DM me!

Emily Edgeley is a Public Speaking Coach for the Technology industry. Since 2017 she’s run over 100 group coaching sessions, coached more than 200 people privately, and formally supported first time and experienced speakers at 10 Conferences, covering 1000+ people across the globe. 

She’s on a mission to help anyone in the Tech arena learn how to speak with clarity, impact, and confidence, whether that’s at work or at a Conference. So they can share their ideas, build their brand and start to enjoy ‘public speaking’!