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Throughout time, people in every culture have always told stories and they're a vital part of our daily communication, but stories have meaning beyond entertainment value. Storytelling is a strong business skill and when implemented effectively, it can boost a business in a number of ways; such as product awareness, improving customer loyalty, creating a strong marketing strategy, increasing profit, etc.

Why Tell Stories? 

business storytelling Storytelling conveys purpose and businesses with purpose are noticed and win the loyalty of customers more than their competitors. So it's not enough to have a product or service that solves a problem – you need a good story to stand out.

Simply, stories are extremely more engaging and personal. This is why public speakers frequently begin presentations with stories.

Stories are also highly structured forms of communication so they help with the audience's understanding.

Each business needs to use storytelling to answer the simple question of "why should people care?", whether they are targeting customers, employees or stakeholders.

In Business today, there are ten common challenges; 1. Uncertainty (uncertainty leads to short term focus, plan your long range vision), 2. Globalization (Understand International markets and their impact), 3. Innovation ( become more innovative while maintain control), 4.Government Policies & Regulation ( Understand and its impact to your business/resources), 5. Technology ( Develop long term strategy while remaining flexible), 6. Diversity ( embrace the inputs of 5 active generations and how they can help the company/team), 7. Complexity ( Develop ways to streamline your Business – Agile/Lean), 8. Information Overload ( In world of Big Data, determine what information adds value to run your business), 9.  Supply Chain (Strategy on minimum risk, lower costs, and higher Value), and 10. Strategic Thinking and Problem Solving ( Key to success – develop capabilities at all levels).

Business stories today are created around 8 topics: 1. Who we are., 2. Why us, 3. Our Vision, 4. Good Business, 5.  What WE have Learned, 6.  How WE Design It, 7. How We Do It, and 8. Meet Our Customer(s).

Pick one topic and use a PAR (Problem>Action >Result) approach to tell your Story. What is our problem (P), What ways are we going to solve it (Action), and what is the results (R) it’s going to provide to our Customer, Company, Stakeholders, or Employees.

Key tips to Business Storytelling…

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Know your message
  3. Insure your story has a structure
  4. Be authentic
  5. Use a conversational tone
  6. Remember the audience is the “hero”
  7. Be visual
  8. Make human and emotional connection (Be sensitive culture and generations) 
  9. Sell your Story, not product or Services

When people engage with your stories you can create beliefs by showing them how you came to believe something. Transferring values and beliefs is done through your story's character having an epiphany because your audience will also experience this. So take what you know and believe about your product/service and transfer it into the minds of your audience.

Today, it's difficult to find a successful company/personal brand that does not have a good story behind it. Stories provide meaning, create context and evoke a sense of purpose. Most humans are more receptive to stories than compared to facts or data as stories help us relate, empathize and remember.

What is your Business Story?

About the Author(s)

John Choate, Certified SCORE Mentor

John has over 30+ years’ experience in Business/Operations-Supply Chain/Technology-ERP from site level to Executive level in OEM/Contract Services companies. Starting his career as a Logistics/Data Systems Officer in the USAF to currently Business Processes Consultant /Cloud Supply Chain PM for SAP Ariba.

Certified SCORE Mentor, SCORE Greater Phoenix
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