January 28, 2014 12:32 pm
Not everything matters. But everything that matters usually has a great story to go with it.
Consider these scenarios:
- How you met your significant other
- How you once cheated death (car crash, childhood illness, making an exception to a usual routine and so avoiding some calamity)
- Family history – one fork in the road led to you, the other to something completely different.
These are stories you have probably told time and time again. People like hearing them. (Though not if you’ve told them to the same person time and time again – that’s not what I meant.)
You’ve also probably got better at telling them over the years. Maybe sometimes you cut to the chase. Maybe you react to your audience, adding details or answering specific questions.
The other day on LinkedIn I quoted the writer Studs Terkel. He famously said: “
“People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.”
And it’s true. As humans, we have long realised the power of stories. People cite early cave drawings – to teach, to warn, to celebrate bringing down the biggest bison? – and it’s been going on forever, for whatever reason.
And just as we have great stories as individuals and families, so too do organisations big and small. How about:
- The reasons why a company was founded – usually tied up with the story of one person or a small group, often already connected in some way
- Averting disaster in some way – perhaps a bit of corporate jujitsu that ended up in a new product or direction
- Your first sale or customer
Just as we like to know more about people to understand them better and feel closer, corporate stories can help others – customers, partners, suppliers, who else? – feel closer to us.
But sometimes stories simply make us feel good. Research shows how stories affect certain parts of the brain that straight facts don’t (I’m looking at you, PowerPoint bullet points).
So don’t just consider stories. Try to tell those that matter the most and tell them well.
We would like to help you tell your stories – or your clients’ stories. Please contact us to see how easy, fun and effective we make that process.
*photo credit: Bravo_Zulu_ via photopin cc
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