Learn why storytelling is so powerful in business and why not any old story will do.
Seriously, stories aren't just for children and bedtime and neither are they just for entertainment value.
The physiological effects storytelling has on the human brain is supported by science in that stories decrease cortisol (stress hormones) and increase oxytocin (happy hormones), evoking feelings of trust and empathy.
Stories also engage the creative part of our brains, and when used in business, can help bypass buying resistance to your products and services.
Telling stories aren't threatening and people don't feel "sold to" in the same way they do when being given a sales pitch.
And when we're being told a story, not only is the language process part of our brain activated, but every other part of our brain enables us to experience the story first hand as though it was actually happening to us.
Research also shows that our brains cannot distinguish between a story and the real event itself. And because it engages so much more of our brain than a traditional sales message, we're much more likely to internalise and remember it and we're therefore much more likely to take action on what we've heard.
So whether you're giving a corporate presentation, presenting at your local Round Table, marketing on social media or creating an online article, if you want to engage with your audience, you have to connect with their emotions. And the best way to achieve this, is through storytelling.
If there was ever a diet that is needed in the information age, it's a content diet!
Everywhere you look, people are talking about content marketing, good content, quality content. But no one gets up in the morning and says, "Please give me more content!" Unless you're Number 5 in the movie, Short Circuit ... "Input, more input!"
On the other hand, you tell someone a story (one that gets to the point and has a meaningful message) and you can command the attention of your own audience all day long.
"Life is a series of stories. And stories come to life when they’re shared." ~ Me
First of all, if you want people to engage with you, to trust you and to do business with you, it's time to switch your default messaging from features and benefits to storytelling.
Storytelling is your opportunity to share with your prospects, your clients and your audience, what you've learned in life and inspire them to feel they can achieve what you've already achieved or enjoy a better life with that product or service that offers them a solution to their problem.
Can't think of a story or think you don't have a story compelling enough? Start by simply asking yourself what lessons you want to pass on to others to save them the "trial and terror" errors so they don't have to make the same mistakes you did. Help them to shortcut their way to success or be rid of their pain in less time.
This is what people will be willing to pay money for so hook them with your story and then offer them the solution.
There's certainly nothing wrong with fables, fairytales or other made up stories, but in my view, strategic storytelling is a story that strengthens your brand and your relationship with your audience.
There has to be a point to the story that's going to resonate with your audience and one of the litmus test to ensure you're going to tell the right story, is to ask the question "so what?"
So what is the point, why should they listen, why should they listen to you, what's in it for them.
In other words, how can they buy into your trust and credibility that will lead them to the purchase of your products or services?
A credible story will win over a sales pitch every time and even if people don't buy from you, you give them an opportunity to walk away with something of value that they can use some time in the future.
That's serving and goes a long way to winning hearts and minds.
Until next time,
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Trish Jones is a Speaker, Storytelling Coach and Author, who empowers and equips women to create a business and life that's in harmony with who they are from the inside out by bringing more of their personality, their voice and their message to the marketplace. Trish would love to connect with you on Facebook.