1.       Pick a true story of something that has happened to you. It should be a story that you love, and one that somehow relates to the night’s theme.

2.       Practice telling the story before the event, if you can! It can help you identify the aspects of you story that you should focus on and which ones to skip.

3.      In writing or in your head, try to have a general outline of your story. You will not have notes while speaking, so it's helpful to give your story a little forethought.

4.       Don’t forget to include some self-reflection! The audience wants to know how this event impacted you, the larger, universal themes involved, and any special personal details.

5.       Consider how you might begin and end your story. This really helps establish your story and helps people follow your thoughts

6.       Be picky about what you include! You only have five minutes, and you may not use notes, props, or any external cues.

7.       Sign up at the Brokerage on the evening of Story Exchange. We hope to hear your story!


1.       Don’t read a story to the audience. We want to hear from your heart and experience! No need to memorize every word of your story—just share what has happened to you!

2.       Don’t tell a story with no stakes. Why does this story matter to you, and what did you stand to gain or lose?

3.       Don’t have a rambling beginning or indecisive ending to your story. “So, it was a Tuesday. Or wait, maybe a Wednesday. No, it was Tuesday because that’s when I get my nails done over at my favorite place near the mall. The owner's name is Gigi, and she's great, but that's beside the point…” “And so, that’s about it for my story, I suppose, so…yeah, so…”

4.       Don’t share an essay, which is essentially a list of facts or opinions with no stakes attached.

5.       Don’t share a stand-up routine. We are glad you are funny, but it must shine through a story, not through random musings.

6.       Don’t rant or descend to political diatribes. Story Exchange is about what has happened to you, not a list of things or people you dislike.

7.       Don’t share poetry or fictional stories. These are great forms of art, but the focus of Story Exchange is on authentic personal storytelling.