We’re all “storytellers.” We may not call ourselves that, but that’s what we are. When we pitch our products or services to our customers, we’re telling a story. When we deliver a presentation to a group of people, we’re telling a story. When we create an email, write a blog or Facebook post, or record a video for our business, we’re telling a story. Or, at least, we should be!
Storytelling is the act of framing an idea as a narrative to inform, instill values, entertain, and inspire. It’s one skill that will make you and your business more valuable to customers. Think of it this way … customers buy from people they like and trust … people they consider to be friends. Friends don’t sell; instead, they tell stories.
So, how do you create a story that frames your idea? Start with passion. (You’re passionate about your business, right?) Start with these four questions:
- Why did you start your business?
- What does your company do?
- How does your company help people?
- What are you passionate about?
Your answers to these questions will serve as the foundation of all your great stories.
So, let’s begin!
A story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. BORING! … Let’s give those parts better names and discuss how they create a compelling story. Instead of beginning, middle, and end, let’s call those parts context, action, and result.
Context of the Story
Context is the part business owners most often skip or skimp on. As a result, their stories are confusing and uninteresting. Context provides background for the story. When done well, context hooks your audience and compels them to continue reading. Remember to provide your audience with the who, what, where, when, etc. etc. etc.
- Where and when – Setting the stage helps your audience visualize the action.
- Who – Who is the main character—the hero—of your story? Who is the “villain”?
- What – What does the main character want? What is standing in his way?
- Why – Why does he want it?
Action of the Story
This is where the hero battles the villain! I know … it’s human nature to want things to run smoothly. But, we can’t have a happy ending without a little conflict, so this is where things get heated. Put the hero on a path to achieve his goal, but don’t make it easy. Create temporary setbacks. The ups and downs in the action section create anticipation and excitement.
Result of the Story
The result is the final stage of the story. This is where you reveal lessons learned and connect back to why you’re telling the story in the first place.
So, there you have the basic structure of a compelling business story.
Stories have the power to shape lives. Our personal experiences—the stories we’ve lived through—make us who we are. Embrace each of your stories as an opportunity to make a meaningful, emotional connection with your customers and watch your business grow.