"So, what's your job?"
Updated: Nov 21, 2019
I'd like to share with you this recorded webinar I was privileged enough to contribute to a few weeks ago. It is part of a series under the NICE Future initiative and organised by the US Department of Energy and the International Youth Nuclear Congress with the goal of bringing forth and developing the voices of young nuclear professionals.
My job was to co-host and guide callers through a brief version of my Know Your Own Story workshop. This connects the real experiences, interests and motivations of young professionals to some basic elements of storytelling which enable them to express their work and why they do it in a succinct and compelling way. I always think of the situation familiar to people working in nuclear where a new person asks about our career and we are anxious about mention nuclear energy for fear of a negative reaction.
My part starts at around 6m30s.
Very briefly, Know Your Own Story invites participants to develop four principle building blocks of their story:
What is their role, in plain English?
What is it like to do that? Expressing the human sensations, feelings as well as the kinds of places and other people involved helps the audience to imagine more clearly and empathise with you much more as a person.
Why do they do that? How does it help? It is not usually clear how technical tasks translate into real-life benefits such as safer or more economic operation, so it is better to have thought that through and be ready to speak it out loud. Try to zoom out and find the societal benefits, too.
Something about their personality and life experience that ties everything together. This can be anything that explains why and how they came to be where they are now. It is their calling, their inspiration, a formative experience or a special person.
The goal of Know Your Own Story is to put together a statement something like this:
"I've always been interested in machines so I studied mechanical engineering at university. Now I'm on a team that maintains some of the major components in a nuclear power plant. It's pretty serious and technical because we have to be safe but it feels good to turn on the light and know the electricity is clean."
The DOE team and I received lots of submitted stories from webinar participants, which we hope to work with in future.
This video compresses the exercise into just a few minutes, but for the most personal and communication growth it benefits from sharing and refinement with other participants in longer format communication workshops.
If you are interested in developing the communication abilities of your team through this or other workshops tailored to your needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.