The Power of Telling Your Story

One way we can win the hearts and minds of politicians and other decision makers is by telling our stories. Each of us has a story to tell that can motivate others in the community to help us beat cancer.

Whether we are talking to the media, meeting with a politician, or inviting someone to join our advocacy campaign, we can bring an issue alive by telling a story that explains why we care. This will have a greater impact than just presenting dry arguments or facts and figures. They key is to find the right balance!

But it’s not enough to just tell our own story. We also need to involve our audience (eg your local MP, or someone you are hoping will join your advocacy network) by challenging them with the need for action, and reminding them of how they can come on board. We also need to show them how the issue is relevant for them.

Elizabeth’s Story is a great example of how a cancer advocate has told her own story, but with a powerful message that brings others on board to her cause. Even if you feel your story is not as powerful as Elizabeth’s, don’t be dismayed. To get started you could ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who you are and why do you care about the issue? Did something happen that motivated you to take action?
  • Why should others care about this issue and why might they join you in taking action? eg, many of us have family or friends who have…
  • What can we do together to improve the situation? What’s the call to action?


  • Include some vivid details and insights that will bring your story alive.
  • Think about your audience and what they might connect to in your story.
  • Practice telling your story.
  • Don’t feel pressured to tell a really personal or emotional story that is going to upset you too much.
  • Don’t include too much irrelevant detail, eg, all your medical history.

For more information on telling a powerful story you can read about the work of Marshall Ganz on Public Narrative.


As mentioned above, each of us has a story to tell that can motivate others in the community to help us beat cancer. At Cancer Council NSW, we are constantly looking for stories that we can share via our newsletters, print media and social media and to help promote our campaigns.

If you have a story you would like to share with us, email us today*. If your story is one we think we can share, we’ll get in touch with you. Don’t forget to use some of the tips mentioned in this article!

*We will never use your story or details publicly without prior consent from you.



Crafting Your Public Narrative
New Organising Institute
Marshall Ganz of Harvard University
Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
Elizabeth’s Story