How To Make Your Business Stories Live
December 1, 2014 Leave a comment
Whether your business stories are for your website, your presentation at your AGM or for an important client proposal, knowing how to make your business stories live is crucial to engaging your audience, empowering your employees and helping your brand soar. But if you’ve tried telling business stories you know creating the right balance isn’t easy. Staying away from corporate jargon and getting the right combination of emotion and fact is tough.
A business story structure can vary, however it often follows:
- Context which sets the environment:
- Where and when is it taking place?
- The setting can use one or more images that stimulate our five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell)
- What are the events that frame the main theme or purpose?
- What is the struggle, vulnerability or conflict the main character experiences?
- Solution / Resolution:
- How was the main struggle overcome or diminished and what parts did everyone play?
Engaging Style Tips That Make Business Stories Live
Nobody wants to hear a long list of statistics or how wonderful you/your organization is. Great business stories build relationship and trust – and nobody or no company is perfect 100% of the time. Audiences will stop believing you if all they hear are ‘walk on water’ stories (as my mother would say). Great stories include vulnerability, conflict or challenge. For example, was it:
- A huge client request that you rose to?
- A personal crisis?
- An important delivery that was stuck in a snowstorm?
Great stories let the listener believe what you are saying and should engage their empathy. Your audience should be able to relate to your story or at least imagine what it might be like to have been faced with the feelings of conflict, happiness, sadness and/or pride.
Help your audience remember your story for days/weeks and hopefully months later by tapping into their own powerful emotions. And then (in most cases), help your audience take one more step – the step of compassion and a desire to act – to do something.
Technical Writing Tips For Great Business Stories
I find business stories are best when told in either first person or third person. First person means that one of the characters in the story is telling/recounting the story. Third person means that the person telling the story is not part of the story – they are an observer.
Stories are almost always best when written with short sentences, common language and short paragraphs. The longer and more complex everything is, the more work the audience needs to do when listening/reading; and you don’t want them to work… you want them to feel. Especially if your audience is outside or new to your business, avoid jargon and acronyms as much as possible. Even be careful with things like program names, which can easily be different from one business or one industry to another.
You can see there’s a lot involved in putting together a great business story.
Great stories grab your audience with your opening and holds onto them the whole time. Every part of the business story should keep your audience emotionally invested in the main character, plot and solution.
Remember, dull statistics will almost always serve as a distraction.
Happy communicating and business story writing. Thank you!
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