When was the last time you were enthralled by a story?
I am sure there would have been nights where you couldn’t help but stay awake to finish a gripping novel or movie. Or perhaps, changed your perspective to something after reading an intriguing story in a newspaper, magazine, or on social media.
We have been telling stories for ages, and there is no denying the fact that stories can change the way we think, act, and feel. It impacts human emotions. The secret is when you tap into people’s emotions with a good story comprising both the good and the bad, you motivate, inspire, and drive action. And this is why storytelling is considered one of the most powerful and successful tools in any business today.
So, it’s clear! If your goal is to optimize your business, you need to learn to tell a good story because, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Wait! Good stories drive good results. Really?
Of course, without a second thought! A good story conveys purpose and values, and businesses with purpose and values are sure to stand out and succeed. However, the question here is what are businesses doing today to drive results.
Well, most businesses today focus on hard sell.
The end objective of all businesses is the same – to drive sales revenue. They encourage their sales and marketing teams to generate leads. This indeed narrows the focus on developing quality content that conveys value and purpose and desperately pushes the audience to click on the ‘Contact Us’ link with no real interest. With the changing business landscape, it’s really challenging for businesses today to create genuine customer value.
A clearly communicated story that has an intention, purpose, and value proposition, supporting the overarching vision of the business to grow, evolve, and prosper.
Got you thinking? If you are pondering how to craft a good story that resonates with your audience, here’s our secret recipe.
How to craft a persuasive story
Remember, before you begin cooking your dish (your story), it is crucial that you follow the three important instructions to make your dish flavorful.
- Set your context right – It is the context that provides the background to your story. Make sure it sparks the audience’s interest and captures their attention by answering the five Ws –
- Where and when does the story take place? – Establish the ‘when’ and ‘where’ of your story.
- Who is the main character? – This needs to be someone who your audience can connect with. In most cases, you are the main character.
- What does he or she want and why? – Explain what your main character wants to achieve or accomplish and the reason.
- Who, or what, is the obstacle? – Every story has an obstacle. This can be a person, an event, or a challenge. Justify.
Example: Abhay runs a SaaS company. The brand messaging hasn’t been successful and led to the poor performance of the company. He needs to guide his team to communicate effectively with the target audience by defining a value proposition.
When I started this company, 5 years ago”, he begins, “I didn’t know much about technology, since I was a Mechanical Engineering student. I had to build everything from scratch. Although my business idea was a hit, I was clueless as to how I was going to introduce my product in the market and connect with my target audience.”
- Get in action – Every story has ups and downs, setbacks, conflicts, failures, and battles. It is because of these that the audience connects, realizes and learns their lessons. Your main character must explain his/her crisis, failure, or a problem for the audience to connect, act, and feel.
Example: Abhay continues, “I tried connecting with my audience on all kinds of social platforms through ebooks, whitepapers, blogs that spoke volumes about the uses of the product. But unfortunately, I wasn’t successful in reaching out to the right audience. I didn’t give up. I delved deeply to understand why and then, soon realized that I was trying to showcase only my product but not its values.
- Always drive value – Don’t forget to reveal the fate of the main character. Explain the reason why it ended that way. The aim here is to persuade the audience to ponder and learn from the result. Your result must explain the purpose of telling the story.
Example: Abhay concludes, “That’s when I began my storytelling journey. Today, when someone asks me about the product, I begin with how I started and what motivated me to innovate such a product. The most important thing to remember is that if people believe they share values with your product, they will always come back to you.”
Once you have followed the instructions correctly, the ingredients are pretty simple!
- Listen – Best storytellers are best listeners. Listen or observe closely to what your audience think, act and feel.
- Practice – Rehearse your story before you tell it. Keep it clear, concise, and involve yourself completely while narrating the story.
- Create a WOW feel – When you tell your story, make sure that it appeals to all five senses and creates magic – the magic of bringing emotions to life.
Heartfelt storytelling is the key to any business
Although storytelling is considered one of the biggest skills in business, there is still room for improvement when it comes to telling stories that instantly make an emotional connection, sparks curiosity, and persuade the audience to take action.
The secret to business storytelling is to act like a customer, not a businessman. When you put yourself in the shoes of your customers, you will understand if they really relate to a brand like yours. Products are made in the market, but the connection to the product is made in the mind.