Do you know a great story-teller?
Someone who, when they tell you about their latest experience, you just have to hear the end of it because it’s always so fascinating?
Like a good book you just can’t put down or the movie where you just have to see the end of it so you know how it ends?
Your business story should be inspiring because the power of a good story can influence, motivate, create understanding & give knowledge.
Your business story shouldn’t “tell”, it should let the listener experience what you went through.
One of the reasons Moonlighting (a regular networking event Inspiring Women run) works well for business owners is it gives them the chance to tell their story. More than just saying what they do, the audience gets to experience and hear the personal side of the business story.
There are a couple of types of stories that can be told.
The “Who Am I” story – which gives the audience the chance to know your background. Where do you come from? How did you get here? Are you a local or did you move here & if so why did you move here? We love to hear the personal side! What about your family? An example of this was a business owner who spoke about moving here to this country, her education (which was in a totally different field) and how she struggled with the decision to move in a totally different direction. The “Who Am I” is an important one as it’s like meeting a new girlfriend we want to know all about you.
The “Why Did I Start” story – what gave you the idea for your business? Did you have support for your idea or did you overcome some opposition? Did you see a need for it that was obvious to you or do you have a talent that you wanted to earn income from? If you have talent, how did you know you are talented? Some people are born with a talent but they discover it by accident, we love hearing about how you found out or are you selling your “widget” as a means to an end? What is that end you want to achieve?
The “How Did I Get Here” story – this one is usually used by long-term established business owners, they are usually well-known businesses or an institution in their area. These stories usually start with a humble beginning, a dramatic challenge (ie almost went bankrupt, major health issue etc) and a story of how they overcame the challenge with a happy ending of being successful and the current new journey the business is on. This is very popular on the guest speaking circuits as many established business have learnt from terrible mistakes. You can learn lots from these stories about avoiding the same mistakes and applying them to your own business.
The “Educational” story” – these are stories where we hear how a business product or service has changed or influenced people’s lives. A good example of this was a business who told the story of some of her customers that came in for photographic sessions, we heard the personal challenges that some of the clients had to overcome and the dramatic difference a photo session had made to the client. Very moving stories!
Many stories overlap and incorporate a couple of the styles mentioned above which is fine but a good story teller usually follows a couple of tips.
- They are authentic – The best storytellers talk from their hearts, so don’t try to fake an emotion that you don’t feel. Your listeners will probably see through this, and your story will crash and burn.
- They pay attention to their audience – Stories that are too long are generally boring. Tell the story well, but don’t go on forever.
- They practice – Try to practice before you tell the story. Even if you tell it to yourself just once in front of a mirror or video camera, this can help you when you’re in front of your real audience.
- They create an experience – Remember that when you tell a story, you’re creating an experience for your listeners. Don’t just use sound (words), but the other senses as well. Show your listeners the picture you’re painting, don’t just tell them.
At a Moonlighting event the audience gets to experience the business they are visiting by using the five senses in every business story: taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell.
This truly makes your story come alive. Everyone loves a good story, so tell us yours please!