Telling Your Story
By David W.B. Parker, MBA IT-PM
It’s important to engage your prospects and clients in what you have to offer. Do you want the power to motivate, persuade and engage? It’s simple. Just learn how to tell a good story. “There are lots of good stories, but it’s in the telling of the story that makes the difference.” Turn any communication into a spellbinding story and marketing is easy. Of course, it’s not so easy.
Whether your business is involved in hospitality services, technology, movie making, developing communities, or building houses, the significance of the story in powerful communications is essential. There’s no denying the power of a good story. People’s fascination with storytelling fuels the fire of a multibillion-dollar media and entertainment industry.
Read on for more on:
- Some quick tips for structuring a great story
- How to use stories to perfect your presentations
- What good storytellers do to engage an audience
Stories are a great way to sell products. The product itself is a great way to keep clients, but it’s the story that gets them interested. What about the story?
- We choose stories to entertain ourselves
- We utilize stories to…
- Contextualize ideas
- Contextualize experiences
The use of storytelling has been in human culture since the beginning of recorded time. And, it’s used every day to keep people interested and motivated, focused and educated. Most people use storytelling, including:
- Spiritual leaders
- Political leaders
- Leaders & Managers in the work environments
It’s a fact that stories help to sell the product or service you have to offer. Every day, in advertising, it’s about the story. Watch a Geico or Progressive Insurance ad to see how they handle the difference. And, when you get home in your “Practical Prius” or your “Ford Tough” truck, it’s “Michelob time” or, maybe, time for the “King of Beers!” Who doesn’t like a good story, and it starts with:
- Differentiating your product or service from others.
- Defining the Brand in order to:
- Create a tone
- Associate the product or service with fun or humor
- Associate the product or service with a specific social class
- Make what you have to offer “sexy”
- Connecting a product with an emotion – if you want to get more sales, make people feel something. An emotionless pitch is going to find an emotionless audience and, without emotion, there is no buying. Get people excited and wanting to buy through their emotions.
Since the beginning, it’s been about storytelling. But, storytelling is just a premise for “story-selling” to get your product or service in the hands of the consumer. Don’t wait for them to come to you, get out and Sell your Story. There are a number of keys to the story to remember:
- The key to selling anything is first defining a problem and then identifying a solution. As we look at our basic story structure, note the similarity to this pattern.
- Advertising uses stories to create want or show need and then shows how whatever is being advertised will fulfill that want or need.
- Branding is another way to package a product or host of products into what we might call a class or genre. By doing this, we not only tell a story but tell a specific story that is categorized in a specific way. This categorization is specific to target an audience. Targeting allows consumers to automatically connect with the product, or the story in this case, in an immediate and intimate way.
The story IS the structure and the structure IS the story. Without an organized plan to the sales and marketing efforts of the products and services you have to sell, there is no story. It has to have a structure and a flow just like any story:
- The key to telling a good story, a story well told, is that the structure is handled properly. All good stories have a good structure which might have the following elements:
- Exposition – beginning or introduction, sometimes a prologue
- Rising Action – can be multiple stages of action reaching a crescendo
- Climax – could have a preliminary rise and fall or just one ultimate climax or crisis
- Falling Action – often a quick post-climax interlude prior to the end
- Denouement – a final resolution and terminus point for the story
- The key elements are delivered in an organized fashion that allows the audience the ability to process the material. In some instances, there could be a non-linear approach:
- Because we are such avid consumers of stories, non-linear stories are possible. Our knowledge of convention is vast. If we recognize story elements as process and store them in various ways. This allows us the ability to reorganize them in our minds. With this said, unconventional stories can quickly frustrate your audience so you need to have real skill when approaching a story of this kind.
In summary, there are a variety of takeaways to storytelling. But, always keep a few of these essentials in mind:
- Storytelling is hard. Hollywood makes hundreds of films a year, many of which are horrible. They do not set out to make bad films; they have too much at stake.
- Utilize some pizzazz to enhance your story. Be careful that it doesn’t overwhelm the story or distract from what you are trying to achieve.
- Test your story. Find people whose opinions you can trust and practice your story on them. Look for real, honest feedback. Rework the story as needed.
- In most cases you should heed the advice of Ralph Eggleston (http://www.pixartalk.com/pixarians/ralph-eggleston/), Concept Artist at Pixar and Director of the short film, For the Birds:
- Clarity – keep your message simple and clear so it is conveyed without getting lost in a muddle of too much detail.
- Brevity – keep the message brief and to the point so that it is not lost in too much information.
- Sincerity – convey the message so that it comes from the heart as there is nothing that will turn your prospects and clients off quicker than a lack of sincerity.
Among everything else we do, PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any marketing efforts, web or otherwise, you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects. Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our web site at www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions
PTC Computer Solutions
Jacksonville Beach, Florida