Business storytelling is an art form many business owners feel is outside of their expertise. Many feel that writing and storytelling isn’t something they can do, often because they’ve tried it once or twice, and it’s fallen a little short.
But storytelling and writing are skills you can learn, if you give yourself the time, patience and practice to get them right. So if you feel that storytelling hasn’t worked for you in the past or you’re frightened of trying and getting it wrong, here are some mistakes you need to avoid to improve your business storytelling strategy.
The 10 storytelling mistakes to avoid in your business communication.
#1: It was all about you
One of the 10 essential tips for authentic business storytelling is you need a hero and a villain – and neither one is you! You may be sharing a story about something that happened in your life, but the focus needs to be on how that helps your ideal paying customer. Your story is just the delivery method – it’s not about you.
#2: Your story was boring
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a boring story. To be fair, a lot of the time, the story isn’t boring or bad – it’s the way it’s delivered that is. Tighten it up by keeping to the point and staying focused on the story itself. Drop anything that isn’t directly relevant to either of those things.
#3: It wasn’t relevant
Business storytelling won’t work if the story isn’t relevant to your audience. You may be telling a story about a fantastic client journey and the results they got, but if your audience can’t relate to the client, or the results aren’t something they’re aiming for themselves, they’re not going to be interested.
#4: You’re telling the wrong story
Another example of business storytelling gone wrong is when you share the wrong story. It’s worth noting that a story can be wrong for your ideal paying customer, as well as you. Sharing a story about your life as a struggling single parent who went on to start your own business is wrong for your business (and potentially your ideal paying customers) if they’re 6 figure business owners looking to grow their business to 7 figures. This type of story will predominantly attract single parents who aspire to have the same start in business. The right story would be the strategies you used to grow your 6 figure business to a 7 figure income.
#5: You’re telling the wrong audience
Sometimes the story was good, but your audience was wrong. An obvious example of a wrong story would be sharing a story about the stresses related to being a parent with an audience of single people. Another would be talking about mindset, reiki and angel cards with a banking and financial forecasting audience.
#6: The story wasn’t believable
This could be due to how you’re telling it, or the story was too far fetched to be believable. Sometimes, this is simply a case of talking about results and transformations that are too far outside of the realms of possibility for your audience.
#7: You lost the plot
Stories don’t always work because the storyteller got lost themselves. I’m sure we can all relate to this – you start sharing something but lose your train of thought and can’t remember where you were headed. This comes up if the plot wasn’t worked out beforehand and you went with the flow – no matter where it was going.
#8: Your audience didn’t care about the subject
This is similar to being irrelevant, and they can overlap. It’s often because you’re so passionate about a topic you want to talk about it. The problem is, your audience simply isn’t interested in the same. This is why it’s so important to carry out polls and surveys to understand your audience.
#9: There was no emotional attachment
Stories need an emotional hook to get the listener attached to the outcome. If you’re listening to a story or watching a film, and you care about the hero, you’re emotionally attached. You’re attached to the hero, the goal they’re aiming for, the bigger picture, or a mixture of them all. Make them all things your ideal client can relate and empathise with, and you’re onto a winner.
#10: Your story had no point
The stories you tell in your business need a reason to be used. If you have no reason, you have no point to make, no learning to share – and no clarity in them. Over on the Content Marketing Institute’s website, the blog post 6 enemies of clarity in your business storytelling efforts states:
“Clear writing may not be the single, defining element of quality, but without it, readers are unlikely to be persuaded by your story — or take action on any business purpose that stands behind it.”
Business storytelling only works if you are clear on the topic, the audience, the purpose and the story itself. Only then can you clearly and succinctly get your message across in an engaging and entertaining way.
So tell me, did you enjoy today’s blog? I’d love to hear what your biggest challenges are when it comes to business storytelling and authentic content creation – so please leave me a comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer (and you could help shape future blog posts I write!).