“Do you know the number of people I feed in this State on a monthly bases?… Each day, I put foods on the tables of hundreds of people. I feed people… I contribute to feeding over 10,000 people monthly,” my friend who is an Agric Extensionist would always remind me each time I chatted her up and discovered that she was in a farm in one interior village or the other and became bothered. She would always respond that she didn’t deserve such pity; that she was touching thousands of lives.

You too can speak in this manner. But what is it really about? I will explain and after citing an example, I will tell you how you can.

My friend is very passionate about her profession- she boldly says that she is a farmer. Hmmm! But what even surprised me more was how she always saw the outcome of her efforts from a social impact perspective. Recently, I have emulated my friend too. And as my small and not yet famous friend quotes large figures like “…feeding 10,000+ people in Oyo State monthly,” I too have joined the league of those who tell the outcomes of their work in the society. Simply put it, I have come to understand the impact I make through what I do.

You see, my friend isn’t being egoistic, neither do her statements imply that she is a charity organization. She merely seats to  calculate the tons of agricultural products she mobilizes from farms, thinks of how many people buy them in markets and the number of meals they can produce. So when she says she contributes to feeding thousands of people, she is telling nothing but the truth.

Recently, I wanted to change the pattern of my proposals, cover letters and resume. I wanted a winning style, so I began researching. One thing I discovered was that rather than telling what you can do or itemizing your strengths, skills, hobbies, etc, using anecdotes of what you did or do is far more convincing. I also discovered that using figures pays off and that showcasing the end result of your work in your society is a very good way to tell that you are making an impact.

In redesigning my CV cover letter, I asked myself, “But what do I write concerning my job?” Truly, I have the passion to touch lives and that is why I get involved in many community development services and non-governmental organizations, because I want to help make the world become a better place. However, it was after a thorough reflection that I came to discover that in my job, I could be boastful as my friend.

I work as a behind-the-camera personnel. Usually, Reporters, Presenters, Producers and even Marketers make us feel that we are just there to broadcast what they have really worked hard to source and put together. We often hear, “I spent the whole day on the field today, please make sure you air it!” or “Engineer, the overhead mic in Studio 3 is not working, please come and fix it” or “Which EP is at DSNG today? We are on Network News tonight.” “The teleprompter speed, it is too fast, I can’t present with it. I need it adjusted,” “Roll! … After this advert we take Episode 43 of 700 Club, 2 jingles, then we join network to come down at 3:30…”… LOL! I had said, “This is what I have been doing for seven years, wow! Where can figures come in? What do I write in my cover letter?”

It was time to think! I analyzed the end results of my efforts; the number of hours I work per day, the number of days in a week I transmit, and then in a year and years and how that translates into volumes of programmes. I did serious calculation. And wow! It resulted in over 18,000 hours of TV transmission, about 35,000 programmes and at least 50,000,000 views and massive enlightenment! Cool! Now, I was talking business. This was me who used to say, “My job doesn’t make me touch lives as I desire.”  Having worked in 4 locations, my transfers were now an advantage, so I added “Served 4 regions of Nigeria , reaching out to more than 240 communities.” Wow! Now the numbers were increasing. Look at how thoughts of end results brought out the impact of what I do and these are no boasts. If I am asked to explain that in an interview, I will gladly do so, given the breakdown and calculations, that even the interviewers will give an ovation.

Now, I come to you. What do you do? Do you know how far your efforts go to making impacts in the society? Can you do some analysis and calculations to translate that into numbers?  Examine the following options:

  1. Rather than say “I’m the manager of a boutique where I oversee staff and sales,” why not say “I lead a team of passionate employees and work towards our goal of making people look good and improving self-confidence… We add at least 500 clothings to personal wardrobes and the society on a monthly bases and have contributed to over 10,000 appearances in the past three years” (Here, I assume that out of the 500 clothes your boutique sells in a month, everyday, at least 10 are worn by your different customers. Then 10 x 365(days per year) x 3(years you have probably work as a manager there) = 10,095 appearances)
  2. Instead of saying, “I am a skilled mathematician and have been working as Mathematics Teacher in a secondary school for 8 years where I teach JSS1 to SS3 classes,” why not say “I have groomed over 500 students in mathematics and aided their calculative abilities in other subjects. Achieved 70% increase in student performances in JSCE and SSCE in the subject in the past 6 years; influenced the choices of my students, especially girls into choosing STEM careers. Today, most of my old students are graduates and are thriving in various brilliant fields of endeavour”
  3. You can substitute “I have been selling books since I finished my NYSC in 2016, I know that I can handle the job of a librarian because I am skilled at sorting and arranging books.” with “Of all freelance jobs, I choose book selling because I wanted to contribute to awareness and changing of lives. As a book seller, I didn’t only care about the money but also the impact books made on people. I would often take the contacts of those who bought books and an check them up to know how far they had gone with reading and what they had learnt. 80% of them usually testified in the positive. I have sold about 4,000 books since inception. Today, from what I see on my social media, about 200 of my customers are leading successful lives and I’m assured that others whom I’m not friends with are doing great… As a librarian, I will not only manage the library, but ensure that the library will transform as many lives as possible!”

Understanding what you do and the impact you have generated through it is not just for publicity, it should not only be recalled when you are applying for an opportunity or preparing for an interview. It should be the inner conviction and happiness that you have; one which gives you the assurance that your efforts are making the world a better place. Every single person must take out time to reflect in how their jobs or services have helped their community, society or the world at large.

It’s high time you sat down to reflect, calculate, write down, know and tell how you are making an impact through what you do.

18 thoughts on “Storytelling – Focusing on the Impact of What you Do”

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