9 March 2011

The Power of Storytelling for Business

Up until 10 years ago most sales- and business conversations were focusing on details. People wanted to know all specifications of a device before purchasing it. Smarter salespeople were already describing the experience of using the device. This became more and more important in the last decade.
Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Let’s get a bit deeper into the art of storytelling for business.

In these modern days business is very much driven by stories. Whether you are selling a car or computer, marketing your professional services or networking at a reception. It’s all about the stories.

You better make sure to have a rock solid story to introduce yourself to other business people. People don’t like to hear a boring “cv-style” introduction, but they really want to hear what drives your life. They want to hear the passion in what you do.
That same story can be told on your online Social Media profiles, and even more stories can be told in forum entries and blogposts, creating the canvas for your topic of choice.
Creating a story will always make your topic more comprehendible. Drawing the bigger picture by creating a story around your statement will make it easy for everyone to understand and really “get it”.

Hundreds of years ago storytellers travelled from village to village to tell their stories. In the next years professional storytellers will teach businesspeople how to create the stories they need to market and sell their products and services. User experiences, testimonials and all other available content can be combined into great and lively stories.

Storytelling is a topic that jumped into my eyesight several times in the last months. A few great examples of new professional services around this topic :

• Fortune/CNN : Article on TransMedia Storytelling : http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/11/09/why-storytelling-is-essential-for-business-leaders
• Corporate Storyteller Raf Stevens (http://www.corporatestoryteller.be/) came with a book-project on peer to peer storytelling (http://www.linkedstories.com/)
• Dirk Hermans starts with a one-stop-shop (Vertelpunt Uitgevers) where stories can be found in all possible formats : Newspapers and magazines can buy story-content, writers can publish their stories into books, organisations can hire a writer to bring his or her story live in front of an audience. (http://www.vertelpuntuitgevers.be/)

It is already more than clear to me that stories will be very important in the next years and this also relates in a new style of companies taking shape : Small but very active groups of people combining and concentrating on skills as copywriting, marketing, graphic design and communications. Communication Consultants like myself will have to concentrate on listening to people’s stories and reshaping them into a successful format. Like stated in the Fortune article, it’s not about creating hundreds of stories, it’s about creating one fantastic story that gets told over and over again to hundreds of people !

I think this new development will be very exciting for everyone in this industry and everyone who is passionate by the written word.

What’s your story ?

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