That’s my story. And I’m NOT sticking to it.


That’s my story. And I’m NOT sticking to it.

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel

That’s my story. And I’m NOT sticking to it.Are you willing to change your story? If not, why not?

Most of us understand our story will evolve over time. Things change over time.

But what if you need to change your story today because it’s not working or you made a mistake? That can be harder. Are you willing to do it?

What keeps us from changing our story when we need to? Let’s look at some of the obstacles.

Your story isn’t working

What are the obstacles here? First, you have to recognize your story isn’t working. And be willing to acknowledge that to yourself.

Most of us have a good bit of ego tied up in our stories. Your ego is your image of yourself. So, your ego can get in the way of acknowledging that your story isn’t working and being willing to change it.

But in the business world a story that isn’t working usually means sales aren’t what they should be. How much of a hit to your pocketbook are you willing to suffer to protect your ego? Your choice. But not much, I hope.

How do you recognize whether your story’s working? And how do you fix it if it isn’t?

Go back to the basics. What’s your objective? Who’s your audience? What’s your message? Your message and the story you use to deliver your message are designed to persuade your audience to do or believe whatever you want them to do or believe to achieve your objective. If that isn’t happening, your story isn’t working.

How do you fix it? Ask yourself two questions:

  • Is there too much about you in your story? Your favorite parts of your story are the parts about you. But that’s not what the rest of us are interested in. We want to know what’s in it for us.
  • Do you have the right message for your audience? If your message isn’t getting traction with your audience maybe you have the wrong message. It’s not about what you say. It’s about what your audience hears and cares about.

You made a mistake

None of us like to make a mistake. And admitting we made a mistake is embarrassing. If you make a mistake, fix it. Admit the mistake with a correction if it’s something the rest of us need to know about. You said the meeting will be on Wednesday when it’s on Tuesday? Do what you can to let us know so we don’t show up a day late.

A common mistake by people who’ve made a mistake that plays out in the media is to come up with an inane explanation of what happened instead of simply saying “we (I) goofed.”

We all make mistakes. Trying to cover up a mistake with an explanation that clearly isn’t true compounds the problem.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Unless I need to change it.


Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 |

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros radio show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at on the Internet.

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