If you’re like most people, you can vividly recall a story that has stayed with you over time.
Maybe it’s a story you read as a child that sparked your imagination. Perhaps it is one that shifted your perception as a teenager. Or one that has inspired action as an adult.
Stories help us to see the world in a new way.
We each have a unique story within us. Stories are how we put our lives into context, how we make sense of the world around us. And so, we naturally use stories in our daily communication. Stories are what happen to us – they’re what we do, who we are, and who we want to be.
And guess what?
it should be no different in business.
It is the story of your purpose and mission that ultimately moves supporters, drives engagement and ultimately helps entrepreneurs make an impact.
Yet so many entrepreneurs become so immersed in the work they’re doing that they dedicate little time and resource to telling their story effectively. They use the same lines over and over, without taking consideration for the audience they’re speaking to. And as a result, people don’t take notice of them or their startup.
Here’s how storytelling can help you communicate more effectively.
in 60 seconds
If you have just 60 seconds (or less) to capture someone’s attention, you really can’t waste any time with unnecessary detail.
Use this really simple formula as a blueprint for creating a short, but highly effective method for getting your story across quickly.
PROBLEM STATEMENT + IMPACT + WHERE YOU COME IN (YOUR SOLUTION) + RESULT OF YOUR SOLUTION
At the end, be sure to include a call to action specifically for the person in front of you. For example, you may say “I’d love to keep you updated on our progress. Can I add you to our mailing list?”. Or “I enjoy the work that you’re doing in this field. Can we set up a time to chat further?”. Be really clear about what it is that you want them to do.
in 3-5 minutes
With more time, your first priority is to add more quantifiable data to back up your claims. How many people suffer from the problem you are trying to address? What has been tried unsuccessfully in the past? If there is successful competition, how exactly are you different from them?
Explain more about your solution. In simple terms, describe what you do to address the problem that your customers face. Who, specifically, is your target market? How many of them exist? How will you reach them? Over what timeframe?
What makes you the best person (or team) to deliver this solution? Explain your strengths and how your experience is relevant for your business.
And finally, include a clear call to action. If you’re asking for money, how much do you need?
in 7-10 minutes
When you deliver a longer pitch, you will continue to build upon the questions above and add even more relevant details. You can also start to address any objections or perceptions about your idea to remove doubt from the mind of your audience.
Yet, having more time to tell someone about your business can often be more challenging than delivering a shorter message. With more time, you may feel tempted to share a lot of interesting, but disconnected information.
So, continue to treat it like a story.
Take your audience on a journey through your idea – problem, solution, who benefits, what makes you different, team (including what’s missing), timeline, and call to action.
Remember: It can be harder to hold someone’s attention for this long, so you really need to stay connected to your audience by putting yourself in their shoes. Use language that your audience can understand and keep your slides simple.
Go through your pitch deck and accompanying script with scrutiny. For each slide, sentence, data point and detail, ask yourself “So what?”. What it is that makes this thing relevant? Why would someone care about this particular piece of information? How does it contribute to your story? Would it make sense to an outsider?
ready to perfect your story?
If you know your story could use a bit more oomph and you don’t know where to start, Storytelling School can help! Beginning on 1 April, and running for 4 weeks, Storytelling School will teach you how to talk about yourself online and offline so that customers take notice and take action. Click here to learn more and enroll.