OK, what’s your story?
Is it good?
Are there plenty of bootstraps, hard labor, starting with nothing, build from the ground up in it?
Kate O’Neill, founder and principal of KO Insights, recently had a client for whom she helped compile her stories. The client was a CEO of an up-and-coming company, and O’Neill was helping her feel more comfortable talking to the press.
In business, stories sell. If your business is good, your stories – about your products or services, about your company and about yourself – will also be good. They need to be well told.
O’Neill wrote about her client in an Aug. 31, 2014, column in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Meaningful stories provide a colorful antidote to the mundane questions like, “what do you do,” O’Neill writes.
Business networking experts also try to coach clients to tell stories, even if they only have a few seconds to talk to someone in an elevator. One can answer the “what do you do” question with something other than “I’m in marketing.” The answer can be a colorful story about, say, how you helped solve a client’s problem. The person posing the question may or may not be looking for a clever answer, but a colorful story will likely be remembered for a long time.
O’Neill says the best stories are often those about employees who exemplify the company’s brand and culture, or about customers who have become raving fans of your product.
For those of us who may not be in business, crafting a good story from our job, or our life, makes interesting and often impressive party talk. We never know whom we meet, and we need to presume that every person who asks about us is a potential client or employer.
Experts on crafting resumes often advise clients that job titles are often meaningless. It’s better to spell out what you did for your employers, i.e. how much money you saved them, or earned for them, whether something you did helped the company make needed changes etc.
As children, or even as adults, we heard some marvelous stories – particularly around campfires. Many were fiction. But, we were excited to hear them, and our elders were excited to retell them, over and over. We remember them well into adulthood, notwithstanding the old saw about how a story changes with each telling.
Crafting your own stories can take work. You may even need help, which is what some of us do for a living. But you need to tell your stories right and well, so you don’t feel uncomfortable telling them to the world.
Some of you may be modest. Some of you don’t believe you have a story. Everyone has a story. Many have multiple stories. Tell them with confidence.
Looking for something to come into your life that will create a great story for you? Visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Listen and watch some great success stories from average people who have completely changed their lives. You may want to do the same.
So work on your story. Get help if you need it. Learn to create conversations about your products, services, skills and yourself. You just may run into the one person who will be so impressed with your story that he or she completely changes your life.