Often in business storytelling, we focus on the ability of stories to evoke empathy, convey information, and cement that information in the memory with the cortisol of tension and the oxytocin of a pleasant resolution.
These all have value, but they fall short of harnessing the full power of storytelling for business.
I think we business storytellers focus on these pieces because of our insecurities about story. We’ve been perceived, and worry about being perceived, as story fairies who flit about with smoke and mirrors; spinning engaging tales, surely, but not actually doing anything systematic or measurable. We tend to position ourselves as apart from humanity’s great storytelling traditions in order to fit more easily into a boardroom.
But this has blinded us business storytellers to the most obvious benefit of telling a story—the very reason fairytales exist. They have to have a moral!
I know. Facepalm, right? So obvious.
I could tell you that even the smallest, seemingly most insignificant among us can make a difference.
I could tell you a story about a once-upon-a-time mouse who repaid the mercy of a lion by removing a thorn from his paw.
But unless I put the two together, the first is just a platitude and the second, if well told, a moment of entertainment.
As you look back on your life, it’s important not only to gather your stories, but to find the meaning in them. The fun part is that there is no absolute meaning. You get to make the meaning that resonates for you. The moral of the Aesop’s fable I mentioned could just as well be that we are interdependent or that being merciful brings rewards.
A client recently asked me to write her complete biography so she could use it for her personal growth as well has have it as a resource to draw on for her public speaking. For each era of her life, we talked through its meaning, how it shaped the woman she is today. We christened this art form Aesop’s bio, and she’s found it very cathartic (I’ll keep you updated on its usefulness as a speaking resource—but I suspect it will be great.)
They way this comes into play when you’re telling career stories, or business stories in general, is that you are telling them to busy people; whether a hiring manager or a potential client. They don’t have the knowledge of your story or the time to figure out its relevance to them.
What this means is that you have to not only tell your story, but tell the reader what to think about your story. You’re not hear to deliver platitudes or to provide brief entertainment. You’re here to make a difference in the world, so your story needs to have a moral.
The post The Obvious Storytelling Tool Every Business Storyteller Has Missed—Don’t Do It on Your Resume, LinkedIn Profile, or Bio appeared first on This Little Brand.
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