How to Tell A Great Story – Business Edition
Getting the attention of your target market is no easy task. Once they look your way, you have to pique their interest quickly to get them engaged. That’s where storytelling comes in; a good story evokes the emotions of your audience and makes them care.
Rather than just throwing facts at them, a story has an emotional arc and evolves to the message at the end. The goal with business storytelling is to be engaging and memorable, and have a key takeaway – a point stated clearly for your audience to walk away with.
Here are some key points to consider when storytelling:
Connect With Your Listeners – As with any business communication, you have to understand who your listeners are, what their pain points are, what their needs and desires are, and why they will want to listen to your message. Most messages don’t get heard… you should understand why yours will stand out amongst the crowd.
Evoke The Senses – Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch are each tied to emotion. Saying something like “the customer was nervous” doesn’t have the same appeal as “the customer was trembling so much her jewelry started falling off”. The detail adds a layer that people can see, and it makes a world of difference. Including thoughts, dialogue, feeling and actions have the same effect as using the five senses.
Start at the End – Before starting to craft your business story, understand what the key takeaway is… otherwise a great start to your story will have nowhere to go. Come up with a key takeaway first, and work backwards to provide evidence throughout the story that supports this. Of course the key takeaway should align with your business’ personality and vision.
And here’s how the storyline generally runs in a story:
The Setup – Start off by telling your audience how life was before… the status quo. With explainer videos, we usually set this up with the problem statement. Something has to happen in order for prompt an action (sometimes called an inciting incident) – a bad state of affairs, problem with current solutions, etc. This gets the ball rolling for a change.
The Escalation – This is where the action is taken to get the ball rolling for change. In an explainer video, the character is upset with the way things are and wants the solution. Your solution. When you have extra time, it can be helpful for the protagonist to encounter obstacles or setbacks (with an explainer video, there usually isn’t much time to add this).
The Resolution – The end of the video involves a climax where the protagonist makes a push towards the solution and achieves success, failure, or some end to the journey. The resolution is the key takeaway; in business, it’s the clear, memorable statement of the story’s message (as mentioned before). With the explainer video, the resolution is the key benefit your solution provided.
Storytelling has the power to captivate an audience. Practice definitely makes perfect, so keep crafting new stories and iterating on current ones.