B is for Business
Welcome back! Story has that power, eh? To pull people back to hear more and more. To put that power to work for you, this is part 2 of 3 in the series for you to get started weaving stories into your business communications. This set was first published with the Women’s Enterprise Centre BC based blog. Today, we explore storytelling’s impact on your business or community presence and success.
If you’ve built your story as was suggested in “A is for Accept” then you’ll now have a collection of experiences, accomplishments, and lessons to help you take the next step. If you haven’t done this but MUST read on first… OK.. but go BACK and get’r done or you won’t have the inventory to tackle B.
You can now intentionally create the perception that leads to a positive result. You can now select and craft the stories that you will have at the ready in your business storytelling toolkit!
While there’s a giant matrix of stories you can tell to sell, influence, educate or motivate your listeners/readers to action, let’s start with what many consider a gold standard. These are the six basic story types proposed by Annette Simmons, a noted authority on storytelling in business settings.
1. Who I am stories
Right now. Before you get crushed by the ‘who do you think you are?’ voices in your head, cut yourself a break to think back. Is there a time, place or event that provides evidence of the qualities that earn you the right to stand and influence at this moment? The purpose of this piece is to allow others to know you in order to trust you. Write it all out freely for yourself.
No one’s looking or judging, so don’t you be editing yourself either! Not for now.
2. Why I am here stories
If you are asking others to spend time, money and resources on your message, they will assume your presentation is biased. Your message will go farther and be better received, if you share what it’s really all about for you. What do you care about?
Oh, so you say that for you it IS about the money? Then own that.
Write out whatever you can for 5 minutes. “Keep your hand moving” as writing instructor Natalie Goldberg has said about uncensored writing practices. You might find that your ‘Me and Myself’ might tell your ‘I’ some new information about you!
3. Teaching stories
You’ve heard of ‘show, don’t tell?” The story you craft of a lesson learned and reward gained is more effective than advice simply told. And told. And told.
4. Vision stories
Infuse hope. We can all use a dollop of hope, right? Hope helps bump up motivation. So, what stories do you have or can you create that reframe today’s difficulties as ‘worth it’ to overcome barriers or frustrations?
Do you have your own example of this experience? Or a client’s?
5. Values in action stories
Get real. Get specific. Because values are so personal to each individual. Share your values as a demonstration within a story you tell. Or, as a behaviour in action.
Hey, we all get stuck. If you can’t pinpoint your values, why not research? Take a quiz on line – I bet you’ll do one of the 3 things I experience when I get stuck and ‘look it up’. You will learn. It may help you remember. Or, you’ll reject the results and carry on confident in what ‘the real’ answer is!
6. I know what you are thinking stories
Objections. We know they are there around any idea or pitch you’ve set up, oh so nicely. They are ready to pounce. Yet, when you overcome objections, you fulfill your human listeners’ desire for safety. Your story validates and then dispels the concerns in their mind without you being defensive or them putting up their defense shields.
Get started. Give it time. Don’t censor yourself. You may be delighted and amazed to see what happens when your ink flows unreservedly!
Stay tuned for the next in this series: C is for Communicate – where we look at how you can prepare to share it.
Helena Kaufman creates content and coaches business bloggers through her Vancouver-based service, Story Market. It’s her passion and compulsion. She brings 25 years of experience in public relations and an award-winning writing career to the cause! “It all starts with a story,” she says.