We were sitting at the coffee shop, waiting for his glasses to get fixed. My son had ordered hot chocolate, both my hands cradled my steaming coffee cup. What do you reckon, I asked. What story should I tell this week?
He thought for a moment and said, well, you always tell stories about Kings and Princesses – why don’t you tell something else this time?
I do? I always tell about Kings and Princesses? Yes, you do.
Of course, he doesn’t read my ezine stories. And yes, I do tell a lot of fairytales. But it got me thinking.
So what should I tell then, I asked?
How about a story about a boy who’s really smart and likes to invent stuff, he started. I nodded smiling.
Sounds familiar. And he has some brothers. And the government decides it’s illegal to be that smart.
That’s interesting I said, go on.
He continued with a whole story about the boy running away and finally after a long journey he meets a wise women…
I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
But it got me thinking. His story told me so much about the kinds of stories we all need to use in our business. It reminded me of 5 ways stories work to help us understand our clients and go deep in supporting and serving them.
Here they are:
- Stories Must Be Relevant – if you can’t relate to a story, it’s not interesting, it won’t work. Make sure your story is relevant to your audience.
- The Story Should Be About Me – or at least a character that I can recognize, that I can relate to. Like it or not, we all like to hear and tell our own stories. When you tell a story, your audience is the hero, not you!
- Stories Need a Journey – there has to be a path to follow, it’s the metaphor for transformation – your story is your promise – what you can support and deliver to your client.
- There’s always a Wise Woman – it’s a must. We all need to be guided, inspired and protected – we need help – that’s what makes us strong.
- The Happy Ending – remember, if there’s no happy ending, the story’s not over yet (true for storytelling, true for life)
Funny thing is, when my son had finished telling me his story, it sounded suspiciously like one of my fairytales – just no King or Princess. I mentioned the similarity and he smiled. Of course, he said. It’s a metaphor, right? Smart boy – yes, it’s always a metaphor.
We finished our drinks and headed back to the store. Thanks Mum, I had fun, he said.
Thank you, I said. I’ve got my story.