5 Lessons from a Master Storyteller
Last weekend I was lucky enough to participate in a coaching workshop with Madame Patricia Fripp - the grande dame of professional speaking. We were working on my keynote for Defy Gravity. I learned some major eye-opening lessons about speaking, thanks to Patricia and her workshop partner, Darren LaCroix.
But that's not what I'm writing about today. I'm writing about another lesson that Patricia taught me - a lot and I already knew to some degree, but I don't think I fully appreciated before this workshop.
I've been a storyteller for my clients for over 20 years now. Stories are critical - for every strategy, positioning, and go to market launch I've powered in my consulting business. Stories bring home the messages we want to communicate in the most real and visceral way possible.
I get on my soapbox with all my clients when it comes to messaging and positioning. "It's not about Me, Me , Me Marketing - it's about your customers' stories - how your product added value to their business and their lives." Sometimes that's a difficult sell - especially in markets where chest thumping about some cool innovation is the status quo approach to marketing.
Patricia took my love of stories to a whole new level last week. Some nuggets she reinforced or expanded for me include:
* Real life is much more entertaining and convincing than abstract facts - you may think the true story is boring - but your audience will appreciate the realness.
* Audiences remember what they "see" as you are sharing your story - so paint your picture carefully and thoroughly.
* Specificity builds credibility - don't just throw in generic words like " stuff" and " things". The specifics add color and power.
* Shorter is better. (This is one I need to work on a lot!) Whittle everything down to the smallest sentences and phrases possible. That makes it easier for people to learn
* A picture is worth 1000 words. I've always known this one - people are visual. But it's not just about a graphic. We can paint that picture with the words in our story - when we pay attention.
We can all learn to bring our message to life with fabulous stories. We can all learn to be better storytellers - focusing on our customers and prospects, and not our own chest thumping selves.
That's where true marketing begins!