So the point of the story is...
We all have stories. The truth is though - not all of them are, with respect, the most interesting.
I was speaking with someone earlier this week about storytelling, and they had asked what are some of the most important things to remember when storytelling for business.
I opened with "have a point." They quickly replied with "come on, isn't that a little redundant?"
I laughed and said to be honest, it's not really. It's amazing how easy it is to lose the plot.
Even if we pretend that we hate telling stories, most of us secretly love it. Storytelling comes naturally to us - our ancestors have been doing it for thousands of years!
When we meet someone new, and we start hearing their stories, we instantly start reflecting on our own. It's almost a mental reflex. All of us work differently - some of us are more gregarious and open to sharing our stories out loud, others will think of them quietly and wistfully, but we all have stories of our own.
However, it's different when you're sharing stories for your business.
As soon as you're sharing stories in a business capacity, the stories are no longer about you. You may be featured in the story, or you may be the main player, but the point of the story isn't about you.
It's about them. Your reader, your customer, your client - the ultimate point of the story is about getting through to them.
How are they going to resonate with whatever story you're telling, whether it's one of your own, or about the time that you helped another customer or client with a similar issue?
How is your story going to inform them? Is the point of the story to educate them about something important to them, or to teach them about a new topic entirely?
Perhaps most importantly - how is your story going to inspire them? Are you sharing that story as a cautionary tale to other clients, or to impart an important lesson? Are you trying to show someone what they can gain by taking action, or using preventative measures in order to avoid disaster?
The inspiration part is truly the most important. A story that you tell to engage customers or clients should never end with them smiling, nodding, and thinking to themselves "oh, that's nice."
Whether your story is about another client, about an experience from your own life, or relaying a second-hand story from a friend or relative - the goal is always to motivate the reader or listener.
Instead of quietly smiling, your story needs to inspire your audience to take some sort of action. They need to know why you told that story, and what message you were trying to get across. Even if you're being modest, they should recognize your skillset as a professional, and your wisdom and capacity to help.
The point of your story isn't for someone to sit back and smile. They should want to jump into taking some sort of action - and that first action should be reaching out to your business.
So yes, it is important to have a point. You're not sharing stories just to get them off your chest or to hear your own voice - you're doing it to engage, educate, and inspire customers and clients.
Or, if you thought this blog droned on and on, take advice from Steve Martin instead: