Personal Story Sharing Resource


We share our stories to connect with others — let them know who we are as individuals and what motivates us. When we share our stories, we can connect our values with what is happening locally and nationally. In short, our stories connect our motivations to our actions: Why do we take action to create progressive change?

When you have completed reading through this resource, click here to access the Personal Story Sharing Worksheet (view only version), so you can exercise these tips and write your personal story.

Personal story components

A good personal story often have these three components:

  • Shares our values and connects them to those of our community
  • Communicates a challenge confronting these values
  • Describes a vision for our community and offers a specific call to action that is directly connected to facing the challenge
Sharing and connecting your values

What are your values? Honesty, authenticity, courage, competency, fairness, kindness, diversity. We all have values that shape our beliefs. When we start by sharing our values, we cut through the issues that can too often drive people into their corners, and start the process of finding common ground with persuadable voters.

Once you have completed the process of learning their values, find ways to connect your values with theirs. If they value fairness and you value equity, how can you create a connection between the two?

Communicating the challenge

Next, we want to connect our values to the values of the listener that we are speaking to. Critically, this means we must know the values of our listener. And to do that, we must listen.

If we are speaking to someone we know well, and we know we understand their values, then it might be okay to move ahead. Even then, when the conversation will eventually be about voting, it could be wise to give them this chance to speak and feel heard.

Otherwise, if we are speaking to someone who we do not know well, then we should absolutely give them the opportunity to speak and feel heard. Remember, even if you do not persuade a voter in your conversation, you might be planting the seeds for someone else to persuade them in the future.

Detail a challenge that is currently butting against these values. What is happening in your local community, or nationally, that causes you to take action because of the values that you hold?

Sharing and connecting your values

Finally, when you have described the challenge clearly, including how your values and the values of the listener are at odds with the challenge, describe a shared vision for your community – one that upholds your connected values. Then offer a specific call to action that works to solve the challenge. Are you making calls for a candidate? Are you calling an elected official to demand action be taken on a specific issue?

Personal story example

Here is an example of a personal story. Can you find where the speaker:

  • Shares their values and connects them to those of the listener
  • Communicates a challenge to these values
  • Offers a vision and specific call to action

“Thank you for sharing that. I agree that times are tough for a lot of people right now. I have diabetes and the cost of insulin, even with insurance, has always been very hard on me — and I can only imagine what it’s like for everyone else. And unfortunately, you probably saw it, a cap on the cost of insulin won’t cover private plans like the one I’m on. That’s why I’m phonebanking for Dan Pfeiffer. I know he’s fighting for people like us who are working our hardest to get by. I knock doors on the weekend but I phone bank from home on Wednesdays, and I’d love for you to join me next time because I think you have such a compelling story. I’m making calls the next two Wednesdays, on the 24th and 31st. Which date works best for you?”