Whose story do they want to hear?


storytelling, content marketing

Storytelling is Marketing

Storytelling is such a hot business skill right now. Contently.com published an article recently that was titled, “This Will Be the #1 Business Skill of the Next 5 Years.”

Of course they have a vested interest in making that claim since the company promotes itself as “The Storytelling Platform” and claims to help the world’s smartest brands create engaging, original stories.

Devorah Spilman‘s recent month-long telesummit, “Stories Sell Tell Yours Well,” reflected a variety of perspectives but most of the guests talked about how to tell your own story or the story of your business.

Certainly we can learn a lot from the stories of major brands and small businesses alike.  But there is another approach to business storytelling which seems to be missing from most of the discussions — the approach that I learned from my mentor, Cliff Atkinson, author of “Beyond Bullet Points.”

One of Cliff’s major innovations presented in this book is a method for modifying the classic 3-part story formula and using it as the structure for a business presentation that makes the audience — each individual member of the audience — the hero of the story.

Be really honest with yourself and think for a moment about how you feel when you are watching and listening to a presentation.  Which of these stories would really engage you the most:

  • the story of how the presenter overcame adversity and started her own business
  • the story of one of the presenter’s clients and how he improved his business results
  • the story of how you, as an audience member, are struggling with some issue and how you might overcome it

I believe the answer to that question depends partly on what type of speech or presentation is being delivered.  For a motivational or inspirational talk, it may be best to tell your story, particularly if you have overcome some major adversity in your life.  Most audience members find those stories heart-warming.  Those are feel-good stories!

On the other hand, a business marketing presentation aims to do more than create warm fuzzy feelings in the audience.  When you’re offering a solution to your prospects’ biggest problem, it makes sense to keep the focus on them — on the audience.

So make them the hero of your presentation story.  They are the heros struggling with the challenge and, with your guidance, they can be the heros completing the quest and improving their lives or businesses.

By telling a bit of your story you can give them a preview of the difficulties they may face in completing this quest and you can tell them how much better they will feel after they have made the change or taken the plunge or whatever metaphor works best for your business situation.

Scratching your head about how to turn your whole presentation into a story and apply these ideas to your business?  Use this link to schedule a complimentary one-on-one strategy session with me:  http://presentationswithresults.com/strategy/

Or you can always post a question in the comments below!

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