Don't Doubt the Potential of Your Stories

cave drawing
cave drawing

Who doesn't love a captivating story? Whether it's the profound expressions of a grief-stricken family, the intrigue of a made-up girlfriend, or the scandal of a former hero falling from grace, we just eat ‘em up. Beyond filling the airwaves of our 24-hour news cycle, these tales fuel a profound human need to feel connected with fellow humans. We yearn to share joy, sorrow, triumph, pain and purpose. Stories help give meaning and context to our lives.

Given the salacious nature of today's "news," however, you might wonder whether there’s a role for the stories locked within your own organization.

How (or why) could your “ho-hum” narratives begin to compete with the likes of CNN? Does anyone outside your company even care? And what’s the bottom-line impact?

You might be surprised.

Reaching Beyond the Realm of Consumer Brands

High-profile consumer brands are jumping on the storytelling bandwagon in a major way. Coca-Cola, for example, has completely redesigned its website and developed other resources for the express purpose of sharing stories – both theirs and their customers.

But what about those businesses that don’t have a direct-to-consumer brand (and accompanying budget), such as industrial, business-to-business and professional service firms?

Do I really care that my accountant is an avid skier? 

Or that my attorney donates his services to the clients of a women’s shelter?

Does it matter to me that my architect has six kids and 14 grandkids?

In a word, ABSOLUTELY.

It matters for the same reason I tune into the evening news and get together with friends. I’m human. And I want to feel a connection with others – those I know and those I want to know.

Within the business realm, I need to trust the organizations and individuals I choose to align with (particularly in service businesses or those that rely on close human attention or interaction). Relationships are strengthened by getting to know people’s interests, their values, their families, even their quirks and struggles. Storytelling also helps humanize large enterprises in a way that makes them less intimidating, more approachable, and ultimately, more trustworthy.

I’d go as far as arguing that storytelling is becoming even more important as we yearn for the community that seems to be evaporating in our increasingly hyper-connected -- yet ironically disconnected -- world.

Time to start finding, spinning and sharing those yarns...

They’re waiting.  So am I.