The Power of Story

by T Taylor

I remember when we rated the trainers in our seminar company. We had over a hundred talented people with diverse backgrounds and expertise. But it was the way they delivered their information on specific topics, like “Achieving Excellence,” “Negotiation Skills,” or my favorite, “How To Deal With Difficult People” that set them apart.

One trainer taught “How To Get Things Done” and gave out so much information that attendees would fill an entire notebook. Then, another trainer started his program by standing on a chair and singing the national anthem…a cappella!

He told stories throughout the entire day. I laughed, cried and don’t think I ever took a note.

To this day I recall some of the stories, but not one “how to” note from my 3-ring binder. People like a good story. A story is emotional, like we are. We remember it. And if it’s communicated well, it moves us to action.

We see a lot of business struggling to get their story out.

When I first meet the leader of a business, I pay close attention. Typically, they will tell a very compelling story of who they are, what they do, and why it matters. It’s fresh and there’s passion in their words.

Yet when you read their website and material, these messages often fall flat—if they have a story or not. Sometimes it takes a few minutes on a site to even find out what a business does. Why is that?

There’s an art to telling a good story, and even more so in writing a story. Most people will stay engaged if you tell them in person, but with words in type you need to work hard to engage them and keep their attention.

Research shows that about 4 of 5 of website viewers will scan a page, where 1 in 5 read it the entire thing. I think the 20% is high. It really depends on the visuals; the look, feel, composition, design, color, images, etc. You can write a great story and lose it in a sea of text.

I recently wrote a novel on the early life of David. I don’t consider myself a seasoned writer, so when the reviews came back I was starved for feedback. The most common threads were that the reader couldn’t put the book down. That was the best possible feedback for me, because it meant the story was a good one.

Another way to tell a story is through video. Unlike words and pictures, you now add live action and sounds, almost like being there. The trick is to keep the length short, under one or two minutes (for business), so people will watch it.

One of our clients had a complicated story to tell. Every time they met with a prospective client, it took them about an hour to tell that same story. We used the power of video to explain everything in 1:36. They used this to open up meetings and, without saying a word, got their powerful message across.

Here’s that video:

So, what’s your story? Can you tell it to the right audience at the right time? Knowing your story and delivering it creativity to a unique audience will pay big dividends for you and your business.

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas in the world today.”
– Robert McAfee Brown

And the book, DAVID FAITH, Rise of a Poet Warrior—is on Amazon.

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