For thousands of years our ancestors passed information to each other and from generation to generation through stories. If we were living in 518 BCE and you found a new watering hole where Wildebeests were plentiful, you’d run back to your village and tell your hunting buddies a story about how many Wildebeests there were and how listening to your message could make their life easier.
Well, 2,500 years later, not a lot has changed.
You may be thinking… That’s great, but I’m not hunting Wildebeests. What does storytelling have to do with my business? Everything, actually! Without storytelling, you can’t properly convey the value of what you have to offer to your audience.
1. Just as reporters use - Who, What, Where, When & How. Storytellers use Circumstance, Curiosity, Characters and Conflict.
Circumstance - Set the stage by providing some context
Curiosity - Make the audience curious in the outcome
Characters - Develop characters that the audience can relate to
Conflict - Present a problem that needs to be overcome
2. We are all selfish at heart.
Your audience doesn’t necessarily want to hear about your business, but they may want to know how your business relates to them.
3. Cry it out.
We all have feelings, so find that thing about your business or your product/service that makes your audience feel something. You don’t need to make them cry. Making an audience laugh is good, too. Really, just getting your audience to feel something and connect with you for a nanosecond is a good start.
4. You stink …and the other 4 senses.
No, I’m pretty sure you don’t actually stink but, maybe a smell can help tell your story (imagine the smell of baking bread wafting through your bakery). It’s not just smell - all our senses have a direct connection to our brains. Consider an alternate route to get the attention of your audience.
5. Start anywhere but at the end.
Starting your story at the beginning might not be a great idea either, though. Starting a story somewhere in the middle can pique interest quickly and may engage an audience more than starting with…”It all started at a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, CA…” (e-mail me with the origin of that quote and I’ll buy you a beer, coffee, tea or a drink of your choice).
6. Put on your audience’s shoes and do some walking.
This may be the most important point. Ask yourself… What’s important to them and how can we solve that problem? Start your storytelling process there.
Obviously, this is an overview of an abridgment of a really big topic. We’d love to hear what you think makes a great story?