Every word that we speak or write tells a story. And this power of storytelling can fundamentally grow your business.
But most of us don’t consider ourselves to be ‘storytellers’.
That’s strictly for writers. Artists and arty-types. People who have the talent or time to perfect their words and suckle inspiration from the muse.
But this is just another story we tell ourselves – poets who don’t know it.
And while this could seem to be a harmless bit of self-deprecation, I’d argue that our refusal to celebrate and embrace our stories is limiting and even damaging.
Because by holding our tongues or stilling our pens and keyboards, we hold back our knowledge and experience from the rest of the world.
Because they are what makes us human. And everybody’s got a story to tell, even if you don’t think you can express it.
The oldest technology
When we think of technology it’s usually things like televisions, steam engines and the internet – objects and concepts that have advanced humanity’s progress.
But story is a technology.
The ancient Greeks prized their playwrights like Sophocles for creating tragedies that told grand moral tales – attending was a civic duty, and a chance to learn life lessons.
The messages in these plays are so powerful they are still performed today.
Stories help us understand the world. They allow us to pass on our knowledge, refine it and reshape it so that new insights are made.
Above all, stories connect us. They make our lives what they are – a network of cooperation and creativity linked by shared values and experiences.
It’s worth investing in, and with valuing, as important as a new piece of equipment or a skilled hire.
Start with you – everyone else does
One of the first things people do when they check out a web page online is read the About Us page.
Check your analytics – it’s probably one of the most visited pages.
This is a chance for you to leverage the power of storytelling. To relate your business to you – personally – by telling the story of you.
Because your story is the story of your business, not just the products and services and technical specifications.
When you founded it, why, what inspires you and what keeps you going. What your values are, the hopes and dreams, the nitty gritty that everyone wants to know.
When we tell our stories magic happens. And that’s science.
From seeing faces in the knots of trees to writing doorstop political autobiographies, our brains are hardwired to create narratives for everything.
And if you don’t tell your story, rest assured people are just going to make it up anyway. Better to be the storyteller then.
One easy beginning
An old trick that writers use to beat writer’s block is to start a story with the phrase “once upon a time…”
You can even use “Dear Mum,” or anyone else you want to address.
Then tell the story. No judgement. No stopping. Just let it pour out.
Read it back, correct the typos and cut the salutation.
There’s your story.
And the world needs to know it.