Storytelling is one of the rarest of talents; attempted by many and mastered by few.
Why is storytelling so important? Because people love stories, are inspired by them and remember them more than flat facts. A great story can close a sale or sway a jury; move a nation or start a revolution.
I’m lucky enough to have access to great story tellers in my life. One is Holly Katko, author on entrepreneurship and President of U-Connect. I first met her during a speed mentoring event for the YWCA. She, I and several other female executives were there to be paired with other professional women seeking mentorship in advancing or changing their careers.
Holly is a powerhouse. Vibrant, positive and fast talking. She holds you in thrall. Even when she asks you a question, which she does frequently, she makes you feel part of the bigger story. This creates a lasting impression and eventually leads to a deeper connection. If you are a potential client, you will take Holly’s call because you want to hear the next story.
Holly’s skill and talent as a story teller also makes her a formidable influencer and motivator. She recently conducted a cold calling sales workshop for the YWCA Future Leader’s Council inChicago. She took a topic which terrifies most people: calling strangers to ask for something, and made it approachable. Holly connected with us by sharing stories of success and failure and creating excitement around the topic. I wonder how much of her success as an author and entrepreneur is based in her ability to weave an engaging story.
Here is an excerpt from an interesting article on story telling and building your brand from The Personal Branding Blog:
“Stories are one of the most effective forms of social currency. They build powerful connections between ideas, people and action. They give context and robust understanding to information. They generate urgency and motivation. And, most importantly, stories create value — a lot of it.
To be most effective, your personal brand needs to be a story. But, not just any story, it needs to be a succinct, powerful, captivating story. It needs to make you relevant, make you powerful and inspire your audience to act. No small order.
To accomplish these lofty goals, your personal branding story needs to achieve these six things. It must:
Describe the future
Your story shouldn’t focus on your history; rather it is a story about your future impact. It emphasizes where you are going and why you are the person who will successfully get there.
Your story isn’t really about you. It’s about how you are going to help them (or someone). The best stories make the audience’s benefit amazingly clear.
Lead people through a thought process
Your story walks people through a learning curve, where they find out the most important pieces of information and develop an understanding of how that will impact them.
Create an emotional connection
Beyond educating, the best stories forge a bond between the story-teller and her audience. Whether through vulnerability, candor or shared experience, stories where the audience walks away with heightened emotional intimacy are the stories that win.
No matter what you are selling — service, products or yourself! — chances are there are 1, 5 or 500 competitors who are also “qualified.” Personal brand stories that differentiate, that explain exactly why you are best choice out there, are the ones that are remembered. Your personal brand story changes your personal brand from history and information into a powerful unifying force for the future. It helps people understand how and why you can impact them and motivates them to action.”
Stories are powerful and people who tell great stories develop great influence.
What is your personal brand story?
Categories: Professional Development