Whether we know it or not, we’re all storytellers. We tell stories every day: every time we tell somebody a joke; every time we tell somebody about an experience we went through; every time we motivate somebody to try a new restaurant; every time we persuade somebody to watch a movie or try a product, we are in fact, telling a story.
When we tell stories, we are actually telling the recipients our emotional experience about products, services and its benefits. To be successful at telling our stories, we need to think about a few factors.
Instead of thinking about motivating others, we should think about motivating ourselves. By motivating ourselves – like a great athlete would – we step up, become confident about what we’re telling, and in the process, become authentic. Authenticity is the single most important factor of a persuasive story and it comes from the congruence of self. It’s the element that shines through automatically, and is integral to making people do what we want them to do.
Instead of thinking about the target purely as a client or a consumer, we should think of them as an audience. By referring to the target as an audience, we can come up with more ideas on delivering an experience to that audience.
Instead of trying to be interesting, we should be interested in our audience. If we try to be interesting, the audience may not really see what’s in it for them. However, if we’re interested in them, they can relate and capture the need of what we want to do through their interest. By doing so, they will own it; and with us surrendering ownership, they will become viral advocates who go onto spreading our stories.
Instead of thinking about just telling something, we should be clear about why we are telling what we are telling. The reason why we tell something comes from our goal. Many of us may have an idea as to what we are telling but are not always clear about our goals. Goals can be as simple as buy my product, vote for me, join our gang, take our membership, follow me etc.
Instead of thinking about the story as a monologue, we should think about it as a dialogue. In every great story, the teller, is in fact a listener too. He or she is actually engaging with hearing, seeing and emphatically feeling what’s coming back – like the nodding of heads, questions and so on. We have to think about bringing about interaction and making recipients participants; they would then be inclined to take ownership and spread it.
Instead of being single-minded, we should be open-minded about what we say. Our content can come from our experience, others’ experience, from any form of media such as films, books, TV or games. Irrespective of what our content is or where it comes from, we should be receptive to opinions, thoughts and ideas. By doing so, we can create an emotional connection and a feeling of membership, that when bonded with the information we put into it, makes it memorable, resonant and actionable.