The Era of the Storyteller

Storytelling is more important than ever. Long gone are the days when a story was just a simple anecdote or side bar. Today, stories are prominently positioned at the forefront of business communications. Great stories are seizing power, visibility and taking center stage. The Greek chorus is gone. Now, the main protagonists, us, are telling, analyzing and sharing our stories in new ways and through innovative channels.

Stories matter because they tell the truth. Stories inspire. They are: powerful, free, persuasive, natural, entertaining, memorable, and authentic. It is for all of these reasons that storytelling is not only a key method for sharing oral legacies and lessons but it’s also an instrumental to personal branding technique. And because stories are so important, I want you to begin to write your brand story.

Exercise:  What’s your Practical Genius Story?

Everyone has a story and everyone’s story deserves to be heard and told. As a coach, I listen to stories all the time. The color, texture, movement, and impact of some of the stories can be quite profound. Stories change people’s lives. Stories teach, build and create new stories so begin now to craft your own story.

Your practical genius brand story is the story of you. Begin by writing out your story in full. Consider what makes you unique, the life experiences that have shaped who you are, how you’ve arrived where you are today, and the most compelling aspects of “Practical Genius You.” Then, begin to trim your story down to its essence. Once it is edited and condensed into less than 600 words, then you can practice and perfect telling your story.

Story Telling Techniques

My grandmother, Jovita, is one of the greatest story tellers I have ever met. A part of her magic is in the “herstories,” tales of her experience as a young girl growing up in Puerto Rico, she shares in the oral tradition. The rest is the intimate way she draws in listeners. This is a woman who never was allowed to go to school. To this day, she still cannot read or write. She is a natural wordsmith able to take me from shock to laughter with just one phrase. It is also the intensity of her delivery which reaches me and everyone else with whom she decides to share a story.

I, like many of us, appreciate my grandmother’s stories and in honor of her, I would like to share the three aspects I love most about her story telling. I have used these three techniques to inspire others into being effective powerful storytellers. First, try to take your audience to another world; get them to stretch their imaginations as they journey with you. Second, be sure to run the gamut of emotions from joy to fear to laughter. And lastly, there has to be meaning in what you share. If you apply these techniques, your brand story will captivate your audience with the same magical intensity of a Grandma Jovita tale.

by Gina Rudan

Gina is the founder and President of Genuine Insights Inc., a leadership development and personal asset management practice committed to igniting the genius within every individual.

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7 Comments

Filed under Business, How To, Influence, Networking, Social Networking, Uncategorized

7 responses to “The Era of the Storyteller

  1. Everyone has a story to tell, and they are all interesting if they’re told right.

    I’ve learned this as a journalist writing for newspapers and magazines.

    I’ve also learned it in doing communications work for global health agencies. I help these client organizations show the world why their work matters–and deserves to be funded by donors–by telling the stories of the people their work is aiding.

    Show their faces, let people look into their eyes, tell their stories–it’s powerful and persuasive.

    • nicoledefalco

      Hi John, at the beginning of your comment you qualify story telling with “If they’re told right.” and end with a statement about telling our stories face to face–“let people look into their eyes.”

      The focus of marketing over the last few years has been how best to use social media to tell our stories and open up dialogues. Yet, it is the face to face interaction that breathes the most life into stories.
      For us copywriters, the goal is to create compelling messages that inspire action. Realistically, even the best marketing content is no match for looking someone in the eye, capturing their attention, sparking their imagination, and earning their trust through an honest passion-filled narrative.

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  5. Congratulations Gina on your first blog! I too used to love listening to my grandfather’s stories of how he traveled in box cars across the country as a teenage boy.

    As a Realtor I encounter some pretty intersting stories. The current economy has created a lot of drama for people and when I share some of my dramatic past with them, they see that I’m human too and they can trust me.

    I think we present professional images of ourselves that don’t show our human side. I love a good cup of coffee and casual conversation with those I do business with, as a chance to see their human side and hear their story too!