How to nail your storytelling to boost your business

- November 21, 2022 3 MIN READ
Ancient cave paintings depicting hunting or battle

What makes a great story, and how can you leverage great stories for success in business? Kathryn Van Kuyk and Anthony Caruana, co-founders of Media-Wize, explain how to master the art of storytelling for your business.

People love great stories. Almost every portrayal of humans, from the Stone Age to modern times, features people sharing stories with each other. That’s not just a nice visual for movies or TV shows to exploit. It’s backed by anthropological studies that highlight the importance of storytelling in sharing wisdom and history.

We’re made for stories

Storytelling in human civilisation predates writing. The earliest forms of storytelling were usually oral, combined with gestures and expressions. Some archaeologists believe rock art may have served as a form of storytelling for many ancient cultures.

Storytelling traditions have been used by humans to explain natural phenomena, the origins of humanity, myths, and spiritual and social beliefs. The most engaging storytellers were revered as healers, leaders, spiritual guides, teachers and entertainers.

Modern storytelling takes on many forms, from fairy tales, folktales, mythology and legends to documenting history, capturing personal stories, political storytelling and reporting on world events and local news. It’s used to educate, inform, persuade, influence and encourage action.

New forms of media have created new ways for people to record, consume and express stories, from blogs to websites, social media and self-publishing tools.

Storytelling is a human way to share and interpret experiences and make sense of the world we live in. Our brains are wired to love stories. Steve Jobs, the creator of the Apple Mac, knew this and recognised that a product had to be more than functional. It had to appeal to the people who would use it and create an emotional – almost visceral – connection to them.

Steve Jobs with Apple iPhone

Steve Jobs. Source: Matt Yohe / Wikimedia Commons

What makes a great story, and how can you leverage storytelling for success in business?

When you watch a great movie or read a brilliant book, there are several elements that can capture you. There may be characters you resonate with or connect with. There might be a plot that engages you, making you wonder what will happen next. Whatever the rational reason, a great story engages you emotionally. It takes you on the journey or makes you care about the outcome. It is more than just a set of facts.

When it comes to crafting stories about your business, it’s easy to get caught up in facts and figures and technical details. It’s likely you’ve spent months or even years thinking about what you’re creating. There is a place for that detail in a story, but it’s not the story.

It’s not that the detail isn’t important. Some great stories are replete with technical detail. Michael Crichton wrote a number of compelling novels, like Airframe, Jurassic Park and Timeline, that included lots of interesting technical detail about the construction of commercial aircraft, genetics and quantum physics. But the detail wasn’t the focus. Compelling narratives and interesting characters made these best-sellers.

There are some great lessons to learn from this. When you’re thinking about the stories that come from your business, look for opportunities to create a narrative. Look for stories about people. Founder’s stories are a mainstay of the startup press because people like to read about other people. It’s also why gossip magazines remain popular at supermarket newsstands.

For a business, you may have found a quirky or innovative way to make an everyday task easier. To master storytelling, you need to put yourself in the audience’s shoes and ask yourself why they should care. What’s in it for the audience? If there’s no obvious benefit to the reader, why would they bother reading or looking any further? How can you resonate with them?

When you get the storytelling right, it leads to people resonating with your business, your mission, your brand and services. It is far more engaging and compelling than simply trying to spruik your products and services. It can be a point of difference to help you stand out from the pack.

This article was first published on Kochie’s Business Builders, read the original here.

Join the soloist movement. Whether you are new to Flying Solo or looking to grow your business, our membership options will help you attract more leads, grow your network and sharpen your business skills.  Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest news and advice straight to your inbox.

Now read this:

Five steps to writing a great blog for your business – and why you definitely should!

Here’s why you need to upgrade your Flying Solo membership pronto!

  • Share your business journey in an exclusive member profile
  • Get free lifetime access to our Going It Alone digital course
  • Participate in members-only events and experiences
  • Boost your business’ visibility with a Directory listing

$149.95 + GST
Billed annually
  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"