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The Art of Storytelling

By Kenna Lewis, Social Centric Media

The Art of StorytellingWe’re all “storytellers.” We don’t call ourselves that, but it’s what we do every day.

Storytelling is the act of framing an idea as a narrative to inform, instill values, entertain, and inspire. In this new “information” age, your ability to share your ideas with emotion, context, and relevance is the one skill that will make your business more valuable to consumers as the year’s progress.

So, you are probably thinking… “How do I create a story behind my idea?”

When you are pitching your products or services to your customers, you’re telling a story. When you deliver a presentation for a group of people, you are telling a story. When you create an email, write a blog or Facebook post or record a video for your business, you are telling a story. Or at least you should be!

Your story should begin with your passion. You can’t inspire unless you are inspired yourself. So be very clear on how you want your audience to feel about you and your business. Remember, the facts alone do not inspire, but the heart of your story gives the facts their soul.

Start with these 4 questions:
Why did you start a company?
What does your company do?
What are you passionate about?
What makes your heart sing?

The answers to these questions will be the foundations upon which all your great stories will form. Revisit these questions often and rewrite and reconstruct your story as you grow!

Customers buy from people they are comfortable with, people they can trust, people they consider friends, and friends don’t sell. They always tell stories!
A story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Boring…. Let’s give those parts a better name and discuss what each needs to contain to be a compelling story that people will actually read! Instead of beginning, middle, and end, let’s call those context, action, result. That’s right, I’m taking you right back to your high school writing class structure, but it has been tailored for writing a business story!

Context
Context is the part businesses most often skimp on, or just skip altogether. As a result, their stories are confusing and uninteresting. The context creates all the necessary background information for the story to make more sense. If done right, the beginning of the story should immediately hook the audience’s attention, demonstrating to the audience that the story is relevant and generates excitement and interest to read the rest of the story.

Address these four questions when creating the context for your story:
Where & When – Clearly stating where and when the story takes place tells the audience if the story is fact or fiction. And, the meaning of context is the setting, so you can’t just leave this part out.
Who is the main character? This is the subject of the story or the hero.
What does the character want? What is the hero trying to achieve?
Who or What is getting in the way? This is the obstacle, the villain or the enemy in the story. Your audience simply won’t like your story without a villain!

Action
This is where you will tell what happened to your main character and, most importantly, this is where the villain will battle the hero! Conflicts should arise, problems should occur, and things should get heated. The hero sets in motion an attempt at a solution but fails at first. Always create temporary setbacks. The ups and downs create excitement for your audience along the way.

Result
The result is the final stage of the story. This is where you will explain the correct lesson the audience should have learned and connect back to why you were telling the story in the first place.

So, there you have the basic structure of a compelling business story. Stories have the power to shape our lives and the lives of our listeners. Our personal experience- the stories we’ve lived through- make us who we are today. Embrace each of your stories as an opportunity to transform, grow and make authentically passionate, deeply meaningful, emotional connections with your audience and watch your business grow.

To learn more or for help managing social media for your business,
contact Kenna Lewis with Social Centric Media at 816.582.7366, or visit online at www.SocialCentricMedia.com.

11600 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64114
816.582.7366
kenna@socialcentricmedia.com

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