How to create an effective success story

by Jan 6, 2016

Can you create an effective success story without bragging?


Creating an effective success story is vital


Over my career, I have coached and interviewed thousands of men and women. I have heard a good percentage of those flounder in verbose, meandering monologues, where I have struggled to stay engaged and to prevent my eyes glazing over in complete boredom. A few I have even had to say “I really have no clue what you do exactly.”  Their ability to deliver any skill or attribute in a success story sound bite was almost zero.

Women in particular focus on soft skills. This immediately sets them up for a potential interview death trap. This has nothing to do with a more story-telling style, which can be something women prefer. But in today’s screen addiction era, where the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish, all candidates have learned to become more succinct. They need to apply C.P.R. to their responses. That is, make them concise, precise, and relevant, effectively breathing life into delivery that is struggling for survival.

Read: Brevity the secret to a good interview

I hear phrases such as relationship builder, strong communicator, a good team player, reliable, honest, versatile and adaptable.  But ask yourself the question  – when was the last time you saw a job advert  looking for someone who is “unreliable, dishonest, rigid, inarticulate and will tick off their colleagues?”



Ask the right questions

The most important element is to have a professional success story for each attribute and be able to link it to your business. As women become embedded in the pink functions of HR, Marketing, Corporate Communications and Events, knowing the metrics of your activities is absolutely vital. Very often women will say “but this is something that is difficult to measure” or even worse  “it was a team effort.” 

But there are always metrics.  It’s about asking the right questions to get the right answers. Generally this involves open-ended Socratic questions: who, what, why, when and how?

The final question to ask would be what would happen if I screwed up?


 Learn more about constructing an effective success story.  Contact me for an introductory session!




Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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