As a lawyer, Tara Warwick spends a bit of time incourt, arguing in front of a jury. One of her go-to tactics is to tell a story or two.
Why? For a variety of reasons, but she says there’sone important one.
“To keep the jury awake,” she told me.
You may not be arguing in front of a jury, but as oneof my devout followers, you know by now that storytelling is one of the best strategies you can use to communicate with customers, employees, partners, or whomever your audience is.
But before you start your story, you should know whatyour purpose is. It will help you shape your story in many ways.
Below are 7 of the most common reasons for usingstorytelling in a business/professional context, and how you should use them.
Help people get to know you
The more people know about you, personally andprofessionally, the more they might like you, trust you, and want to work with you.
Sometimes, attention is the goal itself. If all youneed is eyeballs on your story, then you need to be different. Your story should be unexpected so as to be a scroll-stopper.
In that case, it’s all about context. Wherever yourstory will appear, think about what typically appears alongside it. Then do something completely different from that.
Disclaimer: Attention is kindof always the goal, butit’s rarely the goal for its own sake. Nevertheless, being unexpected is always good advice.
You have knowledge to share. Sharing that knowledgedemonstrates the expertise and proficiency your prospective customers/employers/collaborators need.
Wrapping that expertise in a story about how youacquired it, how it’s helped you, or how you’ve used it to help others makes the lesson more relatable and memorable.
Promote a product/service
Okay, this is the big one. It’s what most people whowork in sales or marketing want to do.
Storytelling is an excellent way to show how wonderfulyour product or service is, rather than listing off the same features and benefits your prospects have heard before. Build a story around your product/service – about how it was created, the people who make it possible, or the customers it helps.
But be judicious. People don’t like being sold to allthe time.
One of the easiest ways to use stories is to tellsomeone else’s. Using storytelling to recognize others works so well, because it shows you appreciate the contributions of others, which in turn makes you more likable and trustworthy.
So tell stories about your employees, customers, andpartners. Everyone has a story to tell, and you can be the one to shine a light on them.
And don’t hold back. Unlike selling your product orservice, there’s no limit to people’s appetite for personal stories.
Get something off your chest
Sometimes, telling a story is a cathartic experience. Justthe act of writing it down helps you sort out your thoughts and work through your ideas.
You don’t even have to publish it; writing it andfiling it away might be all you need.
But you might be surprised by people’s reaction. You’reprobably not the first person to experience what you’re going through, and others might appreciate your candor.
Build your personal/corporate brand
Ha! Tricked you!
Using storytelling to build your brand is not apurpose. It’s an outcome. Stories told with any of the above purposes will result in placing another brick in the house that is your brand.
What are some other purposes for telling a story?
I don’t know you, so I can’t say for certainwhat your purpose for telling your story would be. But if we meet for 30 minutes, I can help you. Just setup a time for us to get to know each other, and I’ll help you as best Ican. Don’t worry, it’s free!