The Four Most Under-Utilised Words in Business: Once Upon A Time…

Story-telling is in vogue. But, it’s hardly front-page news that a good story will engage any target audience, whether that be through writing, video production, theatre or even public speaking. Story telling will help you to compel, influence opinions and, subsequently, initiate action. Our story-telling genes are deeply embedded and in the millennia before some smart Sumerian carved the first hieroglyphic, it was the only way that humankind could share common truths, build morality and eventually create a society. In fact, the first writing was created in order to tell stories.

30,000 years of story-telling leaves a legacy. The appreciation of a good story is hard-coded into our DNA.

As any good English teacher will tell you (and I can share this, as I worked with lots of them), there is a universal story formula that is guaranteed to turn phones onto silent and door signs to ‘do not disturb’

There’s a hero. That hero faces a challenge or nemesis. The hero finds a guide to help him or, better still, her, with advice or power. Through hard-work, perseverance and a multiplicity of admirable human traits, the hero overcomes the challenge or enemy to claim a reward of some kind.

Whenever you are telling a story with an after-dinner speech, a motivational presentation using live event streaming at a corporate event, or with the magical medium of film (perhaps in a series of testimonial-led corporate videos), stick to this tried and tested structure and you won’t go far wrong.

Don’t, however, fall into the trap of the vain and the narcissistic. You are not the hero. You are the guide. It is your client who is the hero. Your client who faces the challenge – whether that be a complicated proposition, high costs, or a foe far more challenging: a disengaged target audience. Your client who needs your guidance or your special powers.

Tell their story- the challenges they faced, and how you helped and guided them to over-come those challenges to finally claim the Princess, the pot of gold or the market share.

Follow this simple formula, and your story will always have a happy ending.

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