A tradition in my family is to sit around in the evening with your favourite beverage and tell stories. We often gather with tea, coffee, Scotch, or something else that we might be fancying that day and trade tales about our day, our past, and older stories from the past. My favourite stories to listen to are the ones of bravery, courage, and making hard choices. I loved listening to my father tell me tales about his shenanigans in high school, my grandfather and his friends would share tales of the silly things they did in the military, and my uncles fabricating stories of their lives to entertain and mortify gullible little girls.
The stories we tell connect us to each other, our values, and share insight about the world through our personal lenses. Everyone, regardless of their background and experiences, has a story. They have many stories, in fact. Our experiences are what make us what we are as individuals, so sharing your stories opens you up to the world and makes you vulnerable. Sharing your stories can also help you heal, learn from your past, and build something greater.
How can telling stories build your business?
Businesses, since time immemorial, has had roots in the community, networking, and humanitarian drive. Take a look at !Kung people, or really any tribal group, and how they run their trade businesses. Despite its lack of a global nature, they build their network with trading knowledge and stories, and this network, in turn, becomes their business.
Today’s businesses are much the same, just on a larger scale. Or networking involves social media, face to face encounters, conferences, Meetups, and any other number of things that help us connect with people and stay in contact with others. One person who is a master of this relationship building is Chris Brogan, who is an American author, journalist, marketing consultant, and speaker about social media marketing. He also happens to be highly approachable, genuinely interested in people, and very good at teaching you how to be cognizant about the relationships you build — or neglect — and how it can impact your life and business. In one recent email he sent out to his subscribers, he talks about how he views his relationships with every one of us:
Listen to any interview I do with anyone and you’ll hear the same phrase: “the community I have the pleasure and honour to serve.” That’s how I see this interaction. I serve you.
Chris’s life story is to serve, but in the process he’s gaining experience, a huge network, and company called Owner Magazine that grows from these communications. In every communication he has with his readers, he tells a story that connects with us and reminds us that he’s here to serve us.
These communications wouldn’t work, though, if Chris didn’t take the time to tell a story. A story at the beginning connects with the reader and compels them to read on. A story in the middle, like the quote shows, illustrates a point and connects with the reader again. A story at the end of the presentation can connect and inspire the readers to greater heights.
It is amazing what can come of sharing your stories with others.
I’d love to hear from you. How has sharing a story enriched your life? Has it impacted your business? If so, how? Share your story in the comments.