Why is it that we respond so well to stories?
Is it because they make us reflect on our own experiences? Or because they have the power to transport us to a world completely different from the one we know? Maybe it’s because starting at a young age we instilled this great importance upon the art of storytelling because our parents would tell us bedtime stories every night.
Whatever the reason may be, there is no arguing that storytelling is powerful.
Storytelling is everywhere. It’s in the news, in movies, on television, in the conversations we have in passing. It’s ubiquitous.
Why? Because it’s so effective.
Ready to start telling your story in a more effective way? Apply for a Spark Dating Session with Chris Smith and discover how to powerfully brand your business and master the art of storytelling.
Before starting The Campfire Effect, I put a lot of time into mastering the art of storytelling. I read books, I learned the history of myself and my family, and I practiced telling my story.
I did this because I understood that mastering the art of storytelling was imperative to becoming successful in my business. I knew that storytelling was one of the most effective ways to develop meaningful connections with others. The reason storytelling is so powerful is because when we hear someone else’s story, it allows us to open up into our own story.
During my time perfecting the art of storytelling I discovered 3 key components to telling a powerful and effective story, and how to avoid storytelling mistakes.
1. The Art of Storytelling is Human Selling
The first thing I learned about storytelling is that it isn’t this ethereal, philosophical, unexplainable thing that it’s sometimes portrayed as. At its core, it really is just human selling.
Storytelling is the birthplace of human connection. And this matters for businesses, because people buy from people. That human connection is essential to your business’s success.
When I recognized this, I started realizing how much of me was NOT in my story.
If storytelling is human selling, and people buy from people, why isn’t there more of us in our stories?
I challenge you to reflect on your brand’s story this week, and make an effort to put more of yourself into your brand story. It will not only give you a renewed sense of purpose, it will significantly help you build stronger connections with your prospects, partners and customers.
2. It Requires Courage
Have you ever started talking about your business when someone asked about who you are? If you said yes, you’re not alone. Too many of us do this.
Most of us have gotten in the habit, when telling our story, of making our product or service the hero in our story instead of us. We are so used to showing up to places and events and talking about what we do, or about our product or service, as if that’s who we are. But we all know it’s not.
Many of us aren’t comfortable talking about ourselves. So, you have to recognize that it’s going to take some courage to get out of the habit of ‘telling your story’ the way you’ve always been doing it. It’s going to take courage to be honest with yourself and others about who you are and telling people why YOU are so amazing. Give yourself some credit – your business, product, or service would not exist if you weren’t so awesome!
In discussing this point I’m reminded of the movie We Bought a Zoo, where a father tells his son about how a little bit of courage can change his life. If you have the courage to tell your story, it could change your life too.
3. Be a Great Listener
The most important aspect of the art of storytelling is to be a great listener.
This is because people connect with us through their story, not ours.
While it’s important to really understand your story, how to tell it, and to have yourself intricately mixed into the story of your business, at the end of the day, the key to being a great storyteller is to be a great listener.
In order to be a great listener, you have to ask great questions. For most of us, it’s easier to talk about what we do, than to ask personal and meaningful questions. But asking questions is how you get others to talk about themselves. And once they start talking, and you start actively listening, you’ll start forming important connections.
So go ahead and start mastering your story. Dig through your roots and discover what brought you to where you are today. Once you become comfortable telling others about you and not just your business, you’ll be surprised at how many powerful connections develop.