Video calls, team presentations, project interviews... the spoken word has the power to win or lose contracts.
I trust we agree that “just the facts” is a losing approach for presentations, webinars, or interviews. Storytelling in all its forms is a key to separating your brand from the rest when it matters most.
You’ve read articles and watched webinars about the importance of story in professional service industries. But how?
THAT WAS A GREAT STORY is your guide to oral storytelling.
Five lessons to tell memorable stories so your business can get more business.
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THAT WAS A GREAT STORY directs your attention to the spoken word.
Most people are capable of telling a story, yet most stories are utterly forgettable. We’ve all been in the office kitchen or a virtual meeting where we knew the story we were sharing was fascinating and had a surprising climax, but we failed to hold our coworkers’ attention. “I guess you just had to be there,” we tell ourselves. Or worse, we stop telling stories.
Professional storytelling is an art that can’t be mastered in five short lessons. However, the telling of stories can be improved by appreciating the elements that make a story good for telling and by applying some techniques and devices employed by the professional storyteller.
With a few practiced habits, your audience reactions will shift from “bleh” to “bravo!” A well-chosen, well-told story has more to offer than mere entertainment. It has something vital and lasting.
The first storytellers were the tribal warriors who sat around their campfires at night and recounted their day's conquests. Another group of storytellers practiced their art in the homes when the lights and fires were lit for the night. They were the grandmothers and the grandfathers, and the tales they told were of the folk, their actions, their thoughts, their ideas, and their beliefs.
21st-century humans are turning to oral storytelling in the professional services realm. We have come to a fresh realization that the spoken word is more vivid than the written word, so we return to storytelling as a means of conveying ideas and ideals of lasting value.
Assembling proposals and managing customer relationships are detailed-oriented tasks. The masses hear “marketing” and think of flashy adverts and witty sloganeering. Those deliverables just aren’t common in our profession.
It’s natural for a marketer to feel like an imposter when delivering a story or convincing the architects, engineers, planners, surveyors, and scientists they need to be storytellers.
The pressure you feel to come up with a story about your firm’s utility relocation project can be overwhelming. “This isn’t me. Where do I begin? How to make this interesting without sounding cheesy?” Here’s the cure to the imposter syndrome: use other people’s stories to make your point. Bypass the emotional trauma of creating from scratch.
Practice some of the tactics in this book to be the person or team clients are clamoring for. There’s no need to try everything at once. Start small by focusing on one detail per lesson.
The goal is to feel comfortable embedding stories in your professional work by learning some of the habits of professional storytellers.