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"Those who tell the stories rule the world."
– Hopi American Indian proverb
As a company manager, you are currently taking the toughest leadership test. How can you maintain collaboration, communication and trust in your company, and how can you motivate and inspire people, regardless of whether they are in the office or in the virtual meeting room? How can you make your customers fall in love with your products / services in a world that is rapidly changing due to a global pandemic? And how can you implement change initiatives, get stakeholder buy-in, and keep your business going no matter what life or governments throw at you?
The power of stories can help you connect, motivate, inspire, and convince. People were hardwired for stories. We seem to have an instinct for stories. This theory was actually supported by science.
Modern scientific research has now established that the human mind is a story processor and not a logic processor. Stories were how our early ancestors navigated the dangerous world around them. Through stories we have evolved and thrived. While our species has changed quite a bit over the past hundred thousand years, one thing hasn't really changed: our absolute need and craving for stories.
Related: The 5 Elements Of Storytelling Every Business Owner Needs To Know
A common misconception is that storytelling is only for big, great, emotional stories like the ones you read in books or see in movies and Ted Talks … when, indeed, stories:
✓ Sell products
✓ Help leaders inspire and connect with their teams
✓ Make sense of boring statistics and facts
✓ Make meetings more engaging
✓ Encourage buyers to act
✓ Gather people for a common cause
… and much more.
Consider these statistics:
- 79% of people scan the Internet instead of reading word for word.
- Professionals spend 51% of their time managing information rather than acting on it.
- Every 60 seconds, 700,000 Google searches are performed, 60 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube and 168 million emails are sent.
- Blog posts with videos are linked three times as often as plain text posts.
What do all these statistics have in common? They indicate that people are looking for certain information every day, and yet many people do not engage with or interact with the information available to them.
Your teams, your partners, your investors, and your customers all need to engage and interact with you in order for your business to flourish. Storytelling is a meaningful way to connect with all of these people. And who better to tell stories about than Hollywood?
Related Topics: Storytelling Can Help Everyone Connect With Your Brand
Hurray for Hollywood
The film industry earns over a billion dollars each year in the US alone. It makes 50 billion worldwide. What is behind these breathtaking numbers? Two things:
- Our need for stories that, as you have seen, are scientifically proven.
- A storytelling formula that has been proven to work time and time again.
Films captivate audiences because they make us feel so much. We laugh, cry, scream, scream. We forget our own lives for two hours and take a trip with the hero of the film.
That is the power of storytelling.
The people who make these films have a few tricks up their sleeves. They know exactly how to craft these stories to get a reaction from us, whatever reaction they want.
Here are six storytelling elements Hollywood uses, and you can, too. Inspire and take your team and customers on a journey.
As you pay more attention to the movies you watch, you will begin to see the structure of the stories being told. Structure is critical to good storytelling. Without them, the movie can feel a bit loose and avant-garde, and the audience can get confused and bored.
All good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. All good stories also have a hero who goes on a journey and lets himself be transformed by it. How can you use this trick in your company to connect with others and inspire them?
Let's assume you have been invited to an industry event. You knew this event was about potential investors and you really wanted to convince them to invest in your business. You may want to tell the story of how and why you started your business. Take them on a journey and give your story a solid beginning, a solid center, and a solid ending.
If you tell your story well, your audience has become emotionally attached to it, and you have inspired these investors to schedule a meeting with you.
2. Let people feel something
In human nature, an emotional investment often leads to a financial investment. Whether through an article, blog post, newsletter, or email campaign, if you can make your audience (potential customers) feel like they have something, you have a much better chance of making an actual connection, and eventually to become a customer for life.
Stop thinking about how great your features are and focus on the benefits they can bring to your customers. For example, you might be selling storage space. Nobody really cares that you offer 12 x 8 temperature controlled rooms. What interests them is that their most valuable possessions, like their mother's wedding dress, are safe until they move into their new home. Pushing people's emotional buttons is one of the most important storytelling skills. And you will find that you can often get higher prices for your products and services than your competitors simply because your customers have emotionally invested in your brand.
Related Topics: How To Use Storytelling To Sell Your Brand And Vision
3. Get to the point
While a movie can technically be an hour and a half long, the screenwriter knows he only has a few minutes to engage the audience and keep them interested. Otherwise, these people will find something else to look at.
This is a great thing to remember in your business meetings. Nobody loves a meeting, especially these days when meetings are now held over the internet. Most of us suffer from zoom burnout.
Remember and do what Hollywood screenwriters do: engage your audience. You also only have a few minutes to spare because even though your audience is forced to continue sitting there, it can easily be mentally checked out.
So do something right away to engage your team members. This could be a joke. Ask how the weekend was for everyone. Share good news about your organization. Something to get their attention so you can keep it for the duration of the meeting.
4. Use language that everyone understands
Why does a movie like Toy Story appeal to so many people of all ages? Because it tells a powerful story in a simple way. Avoid using technical jargon in your marketing or presentations. Don't try too hard to assert yourself as an expert. Instead, focus on how to share your ideas and visions. Usually this is done through simple language that everyone understands.
5. Be relatable
There is a difference between sharing information with your co-workers and telling a story. Content, data or information in and of itself is nothing that we as humans can easily relate to. Remember, science now says our brains can process stories better than logic.
If you want your employees and customers to be related to you, then you should be a relatable leader. This means you have to let go of your guard and be human. Share more of your personal stories and emotions with others, and they will feel more comfortable and ready to connect with you.
6. Great films are the product of passionate people
Do you have any idea how long it takes to finish a movie? It can take years from the idea to the opening weekend! Writers, directors and producers need to be passionate about the films they make because the process is often frustrating and tedious.
How do you spark your own passion and remember your why? Let's face it, burnout is real. It's difficult to start a business and keep it going for years. It's also an incredible challenge for leading teams. No wonder so many executives get to a point where they forget why they started their business in the first place.
You used your passion to get your company off the ground. Don't forget to bring this passion into your marketing and leadership.
Managers are not people who tell others what to do. Great leaders are people who inspire others to be great themselves. Great leaders don't focus so much on selling as they really connect with others. These types of leaders are the ones we follow, who we support, and who we want to buy from.