Stories Make the Point

27 March 2020
Capt. Bob Smith

Stories Make the Point!

Events like Detroit's Devils Night can be a great example how to use your personal life experiences in answering questions in an oral board.  Although the following is from a promotional interview, it might spark a personal experience story you can use in your next oral.

Steve was going for his third engineer's test.  Even though he had the knowledge and acting time experience, he hadn't made it high enough on the previous lists to get the badge.  When asked questions, he would just give the standard technical answers.  Everything changed when he stated caboosing signature stories as part of his answers.

Steve was a firefighter in Arizona.  He had also been a firefighter in Detroit. You've heard of Devil's Night during Halloween?  Steve had worked many a Devil's Night attacking a fire, picking up and moving to another fire.  I asked him if he had ever used these stories in his answers during testing.  He said, "No."  I marvel why candidates have these great "Nugget" treasure stories that no one has ever heard.  These stories can demonstrate their experience and they don't use them.

During his next engineers test, Steve was asked if he were fighting a fire and was given an order to pick up and move, how would he do it?  He told the panel how he would do it technically and then took the panel on a Detroit Devil's Night recreating the magic, excitement of the actual events when he had to pick up and move all night.  Steve couldn't believe the difference in his testing score.  Firefighter's love firefighter stories. He was confident and conversational because he was on his own turf.  His signature stories.  His own experiences.  Oh, by the way, Steve got the badge this time!

We would like to thank Capt Bob Smith for his article and insight.  More information on his programs can be found here.