On May 28th, I had such a great time chatting with one of my favorite authors, Annette Simmons, about business storytelling for better results. She is a storyteller extraordinaire, a heck of a lot of fun to chat with (she has a great Southern accent and sense of humor!) and she is the author of The Story Factor and Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins (now in its second edition), as well as other great resources.
Business Storytelling Highlights
One of the things we discussed is the superficiality of a lot of branded storytelling. Social media has ushered in a wave of democratization – and I agree – where transparency and authenticity matter more than ever. I think it goes beyond even that to the issue of vulnerability. Companies need to be more vulnerable in the way they talk to people. Imperfect is human and real.
A few more points:
1. Always start with your ‘why are we here’ story. This is so important. It is the foundation story on which other stories rest. If you don’t know this story, the other tactical stories are meaningless. Stories also change the storyteller. Annette’s quote: “The more I worked on story, the more it worked on me” is true and really resonated with me. I hope it does for you, too.
2. Take more risks to see what works.
3. You need both the failure stories and the success stories (Amen, sister. Preach it)!
4. Play with your customers when it comes to stories – be lighthearted occasionally. You have to ask yourself constantly if the stories you tell yourself are true or not. That holds you to a standard of integrity and that is what great storytelling is about – not manipulation. Too many brands don’t get this. I think we’re in for a second wave of more meaningful storytelling.
5. Annette scored some BIG FUN points with her impression of Jon Lovitz’s SNL Satan character: “Yeah, that’s the ticket…!)
Here’s to all of us evolving towards being more of ourselves and more vulnerable in our storytelling.
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How do you tell great stories in your business? Let me know with a comment below.