As an entrepreneur, you need to connect to others. People need to have a feeling of who you are and what you could do for them. They need to get goosebumps listening to you. Goosebumps are a sign that what you’re saying is connecting to your audience. Stories are a great way to do this. This blog tells you how to tell your story.
What you can do with your story
The point of a story is to connect to your audience or potential audience. So, that means the story also needs to be about your audience. Make your story something that people can relate to. So that they can then relate to you. And make it positive too, about achieving a good result.
Every entrepreneur has a story
Everyone I speak to starts their company for a reason. And in that reason lies a story, about who they really are, what they stand for and how they look at the world. Often, the business you are in, is an expression of your story. So, it’s important to know your story, for yourself as well as for your business.
Notice how you feel about this story and what he does when he’s telling it:
Stories are powerful
Remember lying in bed and being read a bedtime story? How it made you feel? All safe and snug in bed, and sometimes scared of the horrible characters and what they did?
Stories carry meaning. On the surface level, a story can be a series of actions. Underneath that it can be about emotions and how someone develops. And it can also be about history, politics, opinions, life questions, philosophy, all kinds of things. Stories don’t just say what happened, they explain.
Stories run deep
When I was at uni, I was thinking about doing a PhD. The thing I wanted to study was how stories can talk about events, in a way that history can’t. Stories can make you understand something on a deeper, emotional level.
I didn’t do the PhD by the way, I decided I knew the answer before I started.
Stories get under your skin
Think about it: you can read about wars in history books and it can upset you to read about all the events. Then think about reading about a war in a novel. In a novel you connect with the people in the story. You read about love, life events, death and events can really get under your skin.
In a story you always need to communicate emotion. That’s what makes them work. What can achieve change and action in the person watching, listening or reading.
Stories help you be remembered
Stories work from emotions, your senses, metaphors and mental images. These are all easy to remember, because of the connections they make in your brain. Make sure you include these elements in your stories.
You need to explain the emotions you experienced during the events in the story. Make sure these relate to the reasons that people might want to work with you. If readers feel the same things as you describe, then you have already made a connection. Think about how an actor does this. If Julia Roberts cries during Eat, Pray, Love then you might cry too, whatever’s going on in your life at the time. Because it reminds you of your life.
Talk about your senses
The more senses (taste, touch, sight, hearing, smell), you can include in a story the better. These are all ways to connect to readers or viewers. Ever noticed those quizzes on Facebook, where you fill in the smells you remember and they tell you how old you are? That’s because smell, in particular, helps you remember past events. Smell is an important sense, that can warn you of danger, so it makes sense that you can remember smells particularly well.
So, make sure you include as many senses as possible in your story, to make it come alive and be remembered.
Metaphors help you understand something by relating it to something else. For example, if I want to talk about something needing a long time to get done properly, I could compare it to soup. The best soup takes time to arrive at its best flavour. Because most people know this about soup, they’ll accept this as a good reason to take their time with something. Make sure your metaphors work for your audience though. Don’t use sports metaphors for people who hates sports.
Use mental images
Ever watched comedians at work? Some of the best comedians are wonderful at drawing pictures, while they are telling stories. They draw them so well, that you know what is coming next, before they say it. That’s how valuable mental images can be. Here’s the first example that sprung to my mind, when I thought about mental images:
How did that work for you? Did you see it in your mind’s eye?
That’s why it’s important to paint a picture for your audience.
Non-native speakers: telling your story in English
If you’re working in an international market, then you’re probably using English. If English isn’t your native language, then storytelling is an extra barrier. But no less important to do. Here are some tips for how to tell your story in English:
- If you are speaking from the heart, your audience won’t care as much about any mistakes you make. Your connection will me more important
- It’s more important to use correct English when you’re writing than when you’re speaking
- Practising your story will help you feel more confident. Try recording it (video), so you learn what works and what doesn’t
- Start with feeling comfortable with the contents of your story, then ask for feedback
- Humour can lighten your story, but be aware it won’t work in every culture.
Why not add your story below?
I’d love to hear your stories. Why not leave a link below, so we can watch them and connect? (English only please)
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