Engage the mind and trigger the imagination of your audience to engage them at a deeper level.
Do you want to be more successful at selling your products and raising growth capital for your company? Then you’ll need to learn how to be a good storyteller. Your stories need to be meaningful and relevant to your business and to what you’re trying to accomplish.
Try to describe the unique value proposition of your product or service. Is it simply a collection of facts, features and benefits? Does it address the customer problem, and your solution? A good storyteller can describe the target customer’s problem in a way that engages the mind and imagination of his or her audience. This storyteller can create a visceral reaction to the problem, the swoop-in to the rescue with their solution that eliminates this customer pain point.
The Basic Story Plot Lines
As described in the book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker, you have the Quest, the Voyage & Return, Comedy, Tragedy, Rebirth, Overcoming the Monster, and the Underdog. Added to these seven plots in the mid-nineteenth century was the Mystery plot. All great stories follow one of these plot lines. It allows the listener to understand the story in a clear framework. Every terrific movie that has been produced and every successful book that has been written, including business books, follows one of these plot lines.
The Psychological Power of Storytelling
As discussed in article by Pamela Rutledge in Psychology Today, “The Psychological Power of Storytelling”, she states, “Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we justify our decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create our identities, and define and teach social values.” She goes on to say, “Stories are the pathway to engaging our right brain and triggering our imagination. By engaging our imagination, we become participants in the narrative. We can step out of our own shoes, see differently, and increase our empathy for others.”
Bottom line, storytelling engages a different part of the brain that is not as defensive.
Storytelling in the Context of Business
A story can make a complex business or technical issue much easier to understand and comprehend at a deep level even by a lay person. Stories can take the form of a metaphor, an analogy, a case study, and example or a layman’s description of a situation. In the context of describing a problem for which you have a solution, or a unique value proposition, it is ideal to create a visceral reaction in your audience – they can actually “feel” the pain associated with the problem, and that they feel the “relief” associated with your solution. There is no other way to do this other than storytelling. Your stories need to have a hero, the customer, and a villain, usually a big problem that needs to be solved. Your company provides the solution or cure the problem, and you can be the wise mentor or guide in the solution process.
Great storytellers engage the mind of their audience, and they learn how to touch their hearts. In all good stories, the plot goes through a period of conflict and then conflict resolution. You need to do that in business to engage your audience whether it is a customer or a prospective investor. When you tell a story in this way, you can stir the imagination of your audience, and get them to understand what you do at a much deeper level.
Learn how to tell stories, and improve your chances of success, sell more product, and raise needed growth capital for your company.
This article originally appeared in Inc Magazine.