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“Using stories sounds great, but I don’t know where to start.”

If you don’t know how to structure your story, your big idea isn’t going anywhere.

Stories are all around you. We tell stories to each other every day as we go about living. It is our natural means of communication. They’re also one of the most effective ways to connect with customers.

But how do you structure your story so that it resonates with your audience?

Coming up with the stories is one thing – but they need to stick in people’s minds and alter the way they think – and make them want to become a customer.

One element of a good story – whether a Hollywood blockbuster or #1 Bestselling book – is tension. You can also use it in business. Because tension is a tool that draws people in and keeps them engaged.

There are likely loads of quite significant sources of tension in your workday. Customers come to you and display various emotions – fear of change, stress, and confusion. They may be overwhelmed. They may be excited, eager, or nervous.

Use stories to relate to your customer’s pain point. Let’s say you sell tyres. No one loves to spend money on tyres, but if you own a car, they’re a necessary part of life. Show you understand their confusion, and the relief when they find someone who knows their stuff and makes sure everything goes smoothly.

“I know you might be overwhelmed by the options and price points. I recently bought a new TV, and wow, there is an endless array of options – smart TV, 4K, UHD – tyres are my thing, not TVs, and I didn’t know what I was doing. But I had the best salesperson that asked questions to figure out what I wanted and explained things in a way I understood. He even made sure my new TV was delivered and set up for me, so I didn’t have to do a thing. That guy is my idol for service. Now, let’s see what kind of tyres you need.”

It’s a tiny tale – but it works. It creates a human connection.

Tiny tales are everywhere. You must find the emotional arc that builds up tension and resolves it. Here are a few tips.

  1. Look for the moments that stand out. Is it how you felt? Did someone say something remarkable? Did you do something unique?
  2. Find real people to tell their stories. Do you have examples from customers that have used your product or service? What about from within your organisation?
  3. Be real. Tell authentic stories from your gut.

Tension is just a small part of one of the strategic storytelling frameworks I use in my business storytelling training courses.

If you want to make meaningful connections, become a more effective communicator, or  learn the techniques that take you from being an intuitive storyteller to an intentional storyteller, email me and I’ll give you an overview of my Workshops.