No kidding, story crafting is important. You absolutely do need to know how to craft a compelling story.
But if you don't have your head on straight about business storytelling from the start, all the crafting in the world is not going to make a difference.
So let's talk about the essential mindshifts everyone needs to make about storytelling -- so you CAN craft amazing memorable inspiring stories, so you can knock it out of the park in delivering them, and so you can truly understand how to work with stories in your business to increase engagement, sales, loyalty, trust, and alignment.
Here's the list of the 7 essential mindshifts you need to make:
- Storytelling is an experience, not a paint by numbers/fill in the template exercise
- Storytelling is pull technology, not a technology pushing messages to folks
- Storytelling is about connection, relationships, and transformation and not only about transactions
- Story listening is more powerful than storytelling
- Storytelling persuades and influences; data and information leads to debates
- Storytelling is about conveying images, not memorizing texts
- Storytelling is about authentic communication, not about bragging
In this blog, we need to start with #1 -- storytelling is an experience, not a paint by numbers exercise.
I know, I know -- I can hear all my engineers and analytical folks right now saying, "Please please, just give me the structure of a story so I can always craft a good one!" I will. Yet the question that begs to be answered is...what do you want to happen when someone hears your story?
"Oh, I want to inspire someone to make a change, take an action, enroll in my project, etc."
"Oh, I want more engagement and alignment among and between people in my company."
"Oh, I want to attract the perfect clients and talent to my business."
Well, if you want any of that to happen then you need to do a slight pivot away from "give me the story formula" to "help me create a great story experience ". And a formula won't guarantee a fabulous experience for your audience that spurs them to action.
To deliver an experience figure out how you want your audience when you are done.
What's the message you want to deliver at the end?
What experiences can you share with them. Because you see, if you can relive the experience your audience will experience it with you -- in real time while you are telling it.
Don't share about the story -- get back into the actual memory and you'll be golden. You will have delivered an experience, not an artificially engineered story. Yay!
Only after you've laid out the experience you had, then do a few upgrades using story structure and essential elements tools -- just to make sure you didn't leave anything out or missed a weak spot.
Want to get better at storytelling? Always share experiences first. That's the best way to figure out what's working in your stories and what's not because you'll get better reactions from your audience.
Karen Dietz is a veteran in business storytelling, creating stories that inspire, influence and impact the bottom line. She coaches and trains leaders through her Transformational Storytelling System. Wiley published her Business Storytelling for Dummies and she opened the 2013 TEDx Conference San Diego. Clients include: Disney, Princess Cruises, Citrix, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs