The Power of Storytelling: Does your Story Tell Your Story?

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” - Andy Warhol

We all have a story!  But not all stories are equal.  The opportunities of the future will go to those that are able to communicate their story in an inspiring, experiential, and informative way with a specific call-to-action.  A transmedia experience will be the norm not just for the media giants and big brands, but for working class people alike.   In a digital world the power of good storytelling becomes more significant because of how fast information spreads.  People are wired to make an emotional connection with stories in a way that could never be realized without them.

Stories should do the following: (1) convey a clear persuasive message, (2) create a memorable experience, (3) organize your information and (4) must be purposeful and informative.

Four Tips on Pitching Your Story

1. You are Always Pitching

How do you pitch your idea?  There is a lot of content online that will share with you the top tips on pitching. Some of the key tenants when you pitch are: (1) identify the problem that you are attempting to solve, (2) attack a real problem that is worth solving and (3) identify big enough market to justify going after.  Also, remember two things: (1) anytime you present or apply for a job you are always pitching yourself and (2) you cannot always control the environment or the conditions of where and when you pitch your idea.

2. Take a Multi-Channel/Format Approach

We use to think of stories in the form of hardbound novels.  With the growth of social and digital technology and the adoption of e-readers:  Kindle’s, iPad’s; blogging/micro-blogging platforms: WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Posterous, and Twitter; video: YouTube and Vimeo; photo-sharing platforms: Instagram and Flickr it is easier than ever to share and consume content on Smartphone’s, tablets, and laptops.  This requires content to exist across multiple platforms and in various formats.

3. Brevity is Key

Brevity is always important, which is one of the key things we have learned from Twitter.  People love to share creative, interesting, and value content in small chunks.  So, start to think in sound bites, this makes content more sharable and social and encourages people to share it with their network.

4. You are the Main Character

Every good story has a well-defined main character.  In business it is important that the main character is likeable.  Likeability is key when you are looking to establish strategic relationships.  It is critical to communicate your superpowers so that people know what you do well.

Case Studies

Two of my favorite storytellers are Nick Felton and Nancy Duarte.

Nick Felton a New York City designer who creates annual reports of his life with data and Nancy Duarte runs the leading presentation company in the country, which is based in Mountain View, CA.  Nick tells stories with data and Nancy tells stories with slides and both have built viable businesses around storytelling.

Nick Felton – Co-Founder of Daytum

Nicholas Felton spends much of his time thinking about data, charts and our daily routines. He is the author of several Personal Annual Reports that weave numerous measurements into a tapestry of graphs, maps and statistics that reflect the year’s activities. He is the co-founder of Daytum.com, and currently a member of the product design team at Facebook. His work has been profiled in publications including the Wall Street Journal, Wired and Good Magazine and has been recognized as one of the 50 most influential designers in America by Fast Company.

Nancy Duarte – Principal at Duarte Design

Skilled CEO of Duarte Design, inspired presenter, and gifted educator, Nancy Duarte is a sought-after speaker whose own presentations live up to the expectations established in her books. Audiences leave inspired and firmly grasping new VisualStory™ tools that transform the way they communicate.

Action Items to Work On

You should be able to pitch your story in the following ways:

(1) Elevator Pitch

(2) 30-Second Video

(3) 120-Characters in Twitter

(4) One sentence

(5) Website ‘about’ page (2-3 short paragraphs)

(6) Resume

(7) LinkedIn profile

(8) Photos that visually communicate who you are

(9) Avatar profile photo

(10) Social Media profile bio’s

Stay relevant!

 

 

Hajj Flemings

Featured in - CNN’s Black in America 4. CEO/Co-Founder of Gokit gokit.me.Founder of Brand Camp University

  • http://www.facebook.com/ishacogborn Isha Cogborn

    Great article, Hajj. Being relevant and consistent is so critical!

  • Anonymous

    Very nice Haji. You might be interested in my associates at StoryManager.com and their BizGym.com system.