I’m reading an enthralling book right now. When I say read, I mean read. Every page is black with underline, dog-eared corners, notes scrawled in small spaces. I try to stop, but instead I skip dinner. Sleep an hour later. The stories are too good. It’s non-fiction, but the best storybook I’ve read in years. Words spill into my mind long after I’ve stopped reading.
As a kid I’d spend hours at the public library, searching high and low for the best books. Balancing a pile in my arms, I’d rush to the shelves, sit cross-legged on the floor, and pound stacks of “Secret Seven” and “Berenstein Bears,” shuffling my legs here and there so people could browse. I parked for hours till we went home. Even at 9 years old, I knew how I wanted to feel. Cartoony wasn’t my style – no round beavers and talk bubbles. The books that caught my eye made me feel like I was entering a new world; detailed illustration and plot made these new worlds real, but with a sense of wonder.
The power of story is out of this world. Visceral. We feel stories deep in our hearts and guts, and remember them in pictures and feelings. Stories impart wisdom in a way that lectures and fact-telling do not; wise without being openly instructive.
Kids often listen to and tell stories, but adults rarely indulge. But the desire for a story never leaves us. Adults want and need the richness of a new world perhaps even more.
Storytelling is a powerful tool for your business. When you tell a story, people listen. They listen because stories cut through noise – the selling and convincing – stories do it without even trying. When you tell someone an emotional story, it tugs at their insides and they want to hear more. They can’t help but want to hear more.
I recommend you tell stories for the rest of your life; around campfires and weddings, but most of all, in your business. Here’s why:
- Stories help people relate to you. People see themselves in your story and trust you more because you’re willing to share both the good and the bad. Clients and customers love when you tell stories; It connects them to you.
- Stories allow emotion in your business. All sales start with trust, so the more you connect with someone on an emotional level, the deeper relationship you create. Engaging imagination and emotion is the fastest way to create a deep connection, which ultimately leads to trust, likeability, and loyalty.
- Stories create transparency and truth. People want to do business with people who are real, not superhuman. We all have a mess. When you make your mess your message and be real about triumphs and failure, people want to support you.
- Stories give you courage to take risks. Sometimes you must experiment and test new things in your business. Most times, actually. If your attitude is, “Let’s try it. It might make a good story!” you’ll be less afraid to take risks because they will lead to great stories and lessons later on.
- Stories help inspire wonder, imagination, and creativity. Our lives often feel like drudgery. Day in, day out we do the same things. When you ignite someone’s fire by regaling them with story, rich details, lessons, they’ll remember you forever.
- You’ll be a stronger, more competitive business owner. Telling good stories isn’t easy. So when you do, your stand out and people notice the extra effort to entertain and teach them and they appreciate it. It’s not “business as usual.”
As a business owner, attention from your clients and supporters is the most valuable asset you can get in this noisy world.
Appreciate it and be grateful for it. It starts by telling amazing stories.
Next week, I’ll show you how to start with the most powerful story of all: Your own. Most people are afraid to tell their story; they think no one cares. But how far from the truth! I built my life on my story; I’ll show you just how much your clients want to hear yours.
Let me know how you use stories in your business to engage people. Are you effectively telling your best stories? How can I help tweak your stories to make them better? Don’t skip this powerful tool to connect with your tribe.