How Actions Become Stories - 5 Tips on Business Storytelling

MercyCorps NW

by David Vanadia. David will be presenting “If you can tell it, you can sell it: How to succinctly pitch the story of your business” on Thursday, May 10th from 6-9pm

The phone company double charged me. It took hours on the telephone, fax transmissions containing my bank account details, and three trips to the downtown store to finally get a refund. Time wasted, that’s my AT&T story.

Meanwhile, I stopped for lunch. When the employees informed me that they didn’t have any rice, they apologized, gave me a (no-rice) burrito for free, and handed me a coupon for my next visit. Outstanding courtesy, that’s my Chipotle story.

Business storytelling is more than a ‘Unique Value Proposition’ told on an elevator. It goes beyond giving an entertaining PowerPoint presentation. Your business story is made up of every action you take. The better you know your story, the easier it is to actively embody it.

Keep the following tips in mind when creating your ever-unfolding business narrative.

1. You Are Always Making and Telling a Story
All of your actions, all of your services, every customer you meet, it all adds up to a story. You are making a story right now. Is it boring? Exciting? Does the story you’re creating center on serving you or serving your customer?
2. Understand the Narrative Elements
Your clients are characters in your story and you are a character in your customer’s story. What is the motivation that drives your customer? What evil forces are we battling? Are we helping or hindering each other as we zoom through the universe?
3. Embrace the Struggle
Every good story centers on a particular struggle. Do you clearly understand the struggle your customers are experiencing and do you provide a solution to empower them? How does your customer help you overcome your struggles?
4. Make it an Epic Adventure
You don’t want your business story to be able to be told in a three-minute elevator ride. Your elevator pitch is just that—a pitch. Make sure your movie is better than your movie preview! Your business plan, your business narrative, your ‘about me’ page, your customer service interactions, the product or service you sell, these are all scenes in an exciting tale of action, romance, and adventure.
5. Listen to How It Makes You Feel
Did you ever hear the saying, “People don’t remember what you say but they will remember how you made them feel.” Storytelling and business are all about human emotions. We buy, or buy into, a product, service, or concept because it makes us feel a certain way. So, are you making people happy? Perhaps most importantly, are you happy? If not, it’s time to change your story.

  • 1.Wow! I just wrote a book on this subject and we are very sympatico. Admittedly however, I'm a little jealous of some of your lines i.e make sure your movie is better than your movie preview!
    If you go to my blog, you might be interested in the article I wrote on 5 things marketers can learn from stories.
    Would love to collaborate.

    Jim Signorelli | May 2012 | Chicago

  • 2.Really excellent tips of business storytelling! I just add in my favorite list for those feedback indeed. Keep up sounds though.

    Chelsea Roberts | May 2012

  • 3.Wow, what a article ? I can see that you are putting a lot of time and effort into your blog and detailed articles! I am deeply in love with every single piece of information you post here. Will be back often to read more updates!

    wholesale costume jewellery | June 2012 | australia

  • 4.every action you take. The better you know your story, the easier it is to actively embody it.

    Website Design | July 2012 | uk

  • 5.Unique idea! Generally the entrepreneurs don't like to talk much but to be different from other and to be connected with the purchasers it requires. I'm thankful to be here to get such awesome tips through your writing. Keep sharing!

    Shelly Cook | July 2012 | Southampton, SO9 2AB, UK

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