10 Apr 2019
The Power of Story Telling

Make Your Story Stand Out

You have a message, something meaningful to communicate – but so do thousands of others.  it shouldn’t be that difficult to separate your voice from the crowd. But how do we go about it?

Each of us wants our voice to be heard above the crowd.  In a world saturated with similar messages and branding constructs, personal authentic communication attracts your ideal customer and garners the trust you seek. Our perennial challenge is to develop mastery, creativity and authenticity to tell our own story.

The other day I came across a video of the great jazz saxophonist, John Coltrane, playing “My Favorite Things.” That was one of my favorite songs when I was a young girl – but not Coltrane’s version. I fell in love with Julie Andrews’ version from the famous Sound of Music album.  I would listen to that album incessantly. Julie Andrews’ voice mesmerized me, particularly on “My Favorite Things.” It was bright, clear, velvety, powerful, beautiful, sweet, and energetic. I imagined myself as one of the von Trapp Children snuggled up against “our” mother, Maria, as I sang along.

Years later, I had the opportunity to play Maria von Trapp on stage. Snuggling up with seven child actors, singing “My Favorite Things” with all the beauty, power, and sweetness I could summon— recreating that cathartic scene—allowed me to create my own version of Maria von Trapp and embrace how my audiences responded to it.

John Coltrane’s version is a completely different experience. It’s the same basic melody, of course, but he has made it his song. He took the song—a simple A-A-A-B structure—and substituted his sax for the vocal line. McCoy Tyner deftly supports Coltrane’s improvisations on piano, with bassist Steve Davis and drummer Elvin Jones filling out the arrangement as if they were a full orchestra. It’s nearly 14 minutes long, and the story he tells is completely different from that of Julie Andrews. And no one is singing in his version. It’s all instrumental.

Not only does each show mastery and creativity in their own unique way, they are also each a genuine and authentic representation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein masterpiece.

Keep that in mind when telling or sharing your story. Your story is your own and stands on its own merits 100%.  If you share it with an innate sense of self and true vulnerability, those that hear it will sit up, pay attention and listen.


Erin Duffy has simultaneously managed two notable careers over the past 25 years. As an executive in a creative services agency she built wildly successful customer relationships, managed creative teams, and helped clients find their voice and communicate their story effectively. As a professional singer/actor, Erin was able to tap into her characters with a passion for storytelling and perform on many stages. She has been called a “sophisticated siren who captures the classics with emotion and intensity; singing the story of each song as if living it.” Erin’s breadth of research and experiences has culminated into her proudest work to date, the combining of her skills as an executive and a performer. She guides leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs to rediscover the wisdom of their experiences. These insights evolve into a powerful catalyst for stories of change and positive outcomes leading to a unique and influential personal and professional voice. Her clients’ journeys are a testimony to the power we have within us, and when guided faithfully, they can be transformative.