Saturday, October 15, 2011

Small Businesses Have Big Stories. What's Yours?

"The keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind -- creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These people -- artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers -- will now reap society's richest rewards and share its greatest joys." -- Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.

There is nothing more powerful than a story. Those who tell stories recreate the world.

Stories create connection, communicate uniqueness, and ignite innovation -- qualities needed more than ever in these economically unstable times, especially by small businesses struggling to gain visibility and credibility in an ever-changing, jam-packed marketplace.

Assuming you're producing excellent products or services, what is it about your business that is unique? What do customers and clients get from you that they can't from your competitors? What's that indefinable something that creates charisma and belief? Passion for your work, deep knowledge, and a relaxation in your presence that can only arise from authenticity. (For example, I keep noticing how kinetic self-realized people are. They fully inhabit their bodies and the spaces around them. They're alive!)

Logic just doesn't move people, folks. Emotions do. People buy stories that help to create a vision that makes them feel better.

Stories accomplish this arc of higher expectation better than any other form of communication. Why? Because no matter what issue, stories always begin with a problem and end with a resolution. The middle of a story is the journey to get there.

There's the hook.

The story of that journey touches your listener beneath the level of intellectuality, hits a visceral conflict or need, connects them to their own intuitive sense, and guides them toward action that benefits both of you.

This is why highly successful business people and leaders meet their customers, clients, and the public on the common ground of story.

Not only do successful people tell a great story about their product or service; they understand the story evolving at the core of their business -- the story their numbers, customer feedback, and workplace culture are telling them. They pay attention! They tend to the heart of their business and take intuitive action to keep it healthy.

Photo: "The Boyhood of Raleigh," by Sir John Everett Millais, oil on canvas, 1870. A seafarer tells the young Sir Walter Raleigh and his brother the story of what happened out at sea.

by Juliet Bruce, All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment