Getting Your Growth On | 6 Minute Read + Examples
It can be easy to focus on things such as data, facts, services and their features and building a tribe via social media. All are important, but not more than our ability to tell our stories... especially if we're trying to make an emotional connection. Through our stories, we have the ability to share exactly what we stand for, who we wish to serve and why we're uniquely suited to meet their needs in a compelling and authentic manner.
Are you aware that humans love stories? It's true. It's the best way to humanize, personalize and make an organization relatable. When crafted well, we can see ourselves in other's stories. We identify and empathize. Long story short... stories break down barriers between us and our audience.
How many times have you heard the rags-to-riches story? I'll bet more times than you can remember. Many entrepreneurs tell this classic story often. They were down and out, all of the odds were against them, they didn't know what to do and were nearing rock-bottom, when inspiration came knocking. You guessed it. That spark of an idea led to them founding the organization you're reading about at that very moment.
Consider the example of a social worker starting a fundraising organization. Social work is hard, and as she begins to grow into her role it all seems like too much for her. She has a breakthrough one night walking home from work where she encounters a homeless woman asking for money and it hits her. She discovers that it truly is her calling and she needs to do whatever she can to help those in need. Wouldn't you agree that this story would help her raise money for her fundraiser?
Stories work well when they're interesting and engaging. This is why we love TED Talks so much. TED Talks often present very difficult or technical information; however, it's the personal story of the presenter wrapped around it that gives it life.
You may not be a TED Talk alum, but that doesn't mean that you can't tell a great story. After all, we are all natural storytellers at heart.
The story of self explains why you were called to do what you do. It focuses on change and the key moments when you made important decisions that led to this great change. It might be when you first became concerned about an issue or an experience that taught you that issue's importance. To be effective it needs to include your values, purposes, goals, and the vision, which should match those of your audience.
Example: Melyssa Griffin
Your founding story is a story of you that goes back to your life before founding the organization, highlighting the beliefs, experiences, and decisions that led to its founding. The key element to this story is that crucial moment when you knew this was what you had to do. That's why through a founding story you highlight important choice points as well as drive home the value you've brought to your customers and community since you started.
Example: Pat Flynn
A "what you stand for" story explains what you value and care about the most. It can describe the moment you realized that you had this value or about the time you knew this was something non-negotiable. This could come from some personal experience that's not related to your business, or it could be something you learned through work.
Example: Danielle LaPorte
A personal vision story deals with the future. Use this story type to paint a picture for the reader of an attractive, desirable state that doesn’t exist yet but could one day. It explains the kind of future you hope to bring about through your work. The key here is to paint that picture vividly and for it to be a future your audience would like to see materialize as well.
Example: Susan G. Komen
A memorable customer story is a story that tells of your encounter with a particular customer that led you to a choice point. It can be about a change you made personally or professionally in order to better meet your customer's need. A memorable customer story should lead back to your vision or what you stand for. It's not a bragging story about a great thing you did for a customer.
Example: North Point Ministries
Creating a personal story is about more than just promoting yourself or your business. It helps you to identify your true values, in addition to helping you to convey those values to others. Use your story to convey yourself authentically to others. That close connection is what will help you far better than any other form of marketing.
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