So many of us smart, successful women experienced a complete melt down before we found our true calling. I’m not any different. After a string of layoffs from a series of non-profit management jobs I had to throw up my arms in defeat and recognize that even though I wanted to help people, I couldn’t do it in the unstable non-profit sector.
Fast-forward five years and I was running my corporate positions with Ritz Carlton and MTV News like a research lab: clinical trial after clinical trial testing out one particular strategy that was working well in my life, and was, at the time, beginning to gain some credibility in the business world: the art of storytelling.
I fell into it by accident, really. I was trying to come up with ways to stand out from some very qualified candidates when I applied for the position at the Ritz. Since the Ritz Carlton business model is studied at Harvard and well-documented throughout magazines like Forbes, Inc.com, and more, I knew I had to amp up my interview.
And I did it using stories. Well, I called them examples at the time, but they were, in essence, well-crafted and well-executed stories.
I am mesmerized by the power of stories to keep advancing my career, and now my business. I’ve experimented with and cultivated nearly one hundred stories that I use to build my profits, prestige and authority in my business.
Storytelling has become increasingly important in the business world and I believe there is a reason for it. When used properly storytelling can dramatically shift conversations like closing sales, building rapport with clients and even gaining respect with your competition. Why are researchers finding that storytelling is a vital aspect of masterful entrepreneurship?
Brain science tells us that storytelling drives us past the logical aspects of our brain and encourages bonding. If you are an introvert like me, this is good news for those of us who fumble through memorized sales pitches that lack emotional heart.
Storytelling also has lasting value. Jennifer Aaker, a Marketing Professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business found that 5 percent of her class remembered a statistic, while a whopping 63 percent remembered a story. This is why social proof now comes in the form of testimonials, rather than statistical changes.
If you are new to the idea of storytelling for business, there are a few things you can do to integrate storytelling into your business dealings.
1. Start studying universal themes that you find in movies. Universal themes are the shared experiences and desires of the human race – linking us beyond race, culture or identity. Explore how these universal themes make you feel. At what points in the movie do you feel those things? Craft a story from your life where you also felt that universal theme or emotion.
Use this story toward the end of your sales conversation and start coaching them through your shared emotional responses, resulting in bonding that often times, leads to a sale.
2. Create a rolodex of emotional triggers: joy, frustration, hope, etc. Attach to each of these emotions a story from your own life. Utilize these stories in conversations when you need to achieve a certain emotional trigger with a potential client.
3. Start reading the biographies of people you admire. Other people’s stories can be just as effective as our own, and can lend a helping hand when you need a story in a pinch.
Whenever we add a new method of coaching or teaching into our practice it can take some time to adjust and craft that new method to meet our own needs. Keep trying some of these helpful tips with trusted friends or cohorts. Once you feel comfortable adding these crafted stories into your practice, you will be amazed at the added profits, authority and prestige they bring to your business too.