5 Tips for Telling REALLY Good Stories
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to sell a Mercedes, your point of view, or a $10,000 seat to a masterclass - the key to getting people to listen (and then say YES) is telling a great story. Wanting to listen to stories is in our human DNA. By listening to great stories not only do we feel connected, but we also come away with something to take back to our tribe, some sort of value that makes us feel like we’re contributing (even if it’s only to fill an awkward gap at the next dinner event we attend).
In business, the stories you tell your audience shape their point of view - and not just about who YOU are. Great stories have the potential to transform the way your audience sees themselves. (Hint: This is where the power of storytelling really resides.)
How many of you have walked away from a superhero movie feeling a little bit more (or a lot more) like a total bad ass? Like you could take on the world and anyone who tries to get in your way? Even though you were watching a story unfold about someone else, it had the power to shift the way you feel, maybe even how you think.
By harnessing the power of great storytelling, you can literally direct the way your world operates.
Want to attract more of the right people to your business? Tell a better story.
Want to get people to buy higher-price items? Tell a better story.
Want to make sure your customers come back and bring their friends? Tell a better story.
Want to convince your child to eat their broccoli? Tell a better story.
Ready to learn how to tell REALLY good stories? Here are five tips to get you started right now:
1. Earn trust by depicting the truth. As more and more people grow accustomed to the non-reality of our current reality, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be trusted - even in person. The best stories develop trust by showing the real, god-honest truth. If your audience even for a second believes that you are “crafting” something in order to trick them about who you are, what your business stands for, etc. - then you just lost their trust. And, as Seth Godin notes, “Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left.” Be credible. Be honest. Speak the truth in every story you tell - even if it’s fictional.
2. Let your audience think for themselves. The best stories leave room for interpretation because they trust the intelligence of the reader. If your audience feels like they are being spoon-fed, then your story will start to lose its appeal. Don’t give everything away if you want your audience to stay engaged. Say what you need to say - then stop.
3. Take your story off speaker phone. Imagine you’re calling your best friend, ready to dish about everything that happened last night. How would the story you tell change if she announced you were on speaker phone, her husband, mom, and seven-year-old daughter all listening in? Don’t write your stories for “speaker phone” audiences; write them for that private conversation you have instead. The more targeted your stories are, the more interesting they become. (And the less likely they’ll be ignored.)
4. Make your audience feel safe and secure. When you listen intently to a story, it’s most likely because that story is telling you something you believe. People like to feel like they belong. Great stories, then, validate what your audience thinks and ensures them that, yes, they are absolutely in the right place. Will some of what you say not resonate with people? Absolutely. But, will what you say resonate with the right people? Absolutely.
5. Let your story make a bold promise. It doesn’t matter what type of story you’re telling - the best stories always promise the audience something. Before you share your story with the world, give it a close look and make sure it’s providing value; the bolder you can be in what you say, the more you’ll be heard.
The best storytellers are always the best storylisteners. When you hear a great story, what about it made you stop and listen? How did you feel when the story ended? Did you share that story with someone else? Why?
As patterns start to develop, you begin to unearth the keys that unlock the power of great storytelling. Just remember, use that power wisely - and always tell the truth.