Drew’s Note: As I try to do every Friday, I’m pleased to bring you a guest post. Meet another thought leader who shares her insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Nettie Hartsock. Again. Enjoy!
Growing up in the South inspires good stories. Growing up and well into adulthood, my Great-Aunt Florence would make all the cousins sit around in a circle and tell our best stories. I still remember the best of those stories and often tell them to clients or friends to give them an understanding of my life.
And in business, just like in any other arena, people are most drawn to good stories and engaging storytellers. We’re always looking for the next great story.
In my work online for over 14 years and counting I’ve truly lived a virtual life of networking and telling stories. By being conversant, engaging, authentic and open to discussing all the parts that make up "the power of Nettie" I’ve been able to win clients, meet astounding peer gurus and learn so much from others online who are so willing to share their stories.
While it’s important to network, network, network, one of the real keys in terms of successful networking is to be able to share your stories. You’ll empower those meaningful interactions of storytelling that occur completely unexpectedly over a beer, a virtual coffee or short phone conversation simply because you were willing to be more conversant and less marketing-speech focused.
I believe that at the end of the day we all want to feel connected, valued and inspired by other people both offline and online.
We all want to feel a part of a larger community and that includes your customers and partners. If you’re struggling to tell an engaging story about your company, your product or your book then now might be a good time to really get to the essence of your story.
Here are some tips/questions to help you get your story focus started:
- What’s the aha moment you’ve had about the company or product that you always feel compelled to share?
- What’s the best metaphor for your company? Metaphors are valuable because they can present your company in a new way for folks who might not otherwise understand exactly what it is your company does.
- Success stories (case studies) are always fantastic ways to give "success snapshots" about your company and how you’ve succeeded for your customers.
- Journalists like stories that are short, sweet and engaging. Journalists are always under tight deadlines, and if you can’t pitch your story in two minutes or less then you need to work on getting your pitch in order.
- Look at your competitor’s stories and see how you can improve your story
- Make sure your story is congruent and consistent with the most notable things you want to highlight about your business
My story from my childhood is how my Gramps (a Major General in the Air Force) taught us all to swim by piling us up on his belly and swimming the backstroke out the ocean’s sandbar. Once there he said, "Now you swim back," and you’ve never seen so many little cousins swimming hard toward a white belly going the opposite way in your life! And we all learned how to swim.
And always remember what Groucho Marx said, "If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me, because I’d like to hear it again."
Nettie Hartsock is a recovering technology journalist and now serves as a digital strategist helping artists, musicians, authors and companies focus on creating, conveying and connecting their message to the world. Check out her blog.
Image courtesy of San Diego State’s Educational Technology Class 470