Stand-out & be remembered

Getting the focused-attention of prospective clients is a precious opportunity.

So when we do have their ear – for instance, on a networking call or at an industry event – we need to do all we can to stand-out and be remembered.

But how can we do this in our noisy, time-pressured world?

Storytelling could be the answer.

Telling a story allows us to find the sweet spot between:

  • The high-energy but largely structureless ‘scattergun’ approach which can sometimes take hold when we’re thrust under the performing lights, and
  • ‘Playing it safe’ – using a well-trodden business presentation format that we return to time and again, for fear of standing out for all the wrong reasons

By using a story’s natural structure to take listeners on an emotional journey, you will not only grab people’s attention there and then, but also connect with them in such a way that you and your story will be remembered long after the event is over.

And if it’s constructed in the right way, a storytelling approach can work whether you’re talking about your clients, your firm, your colleagues, yourself, or a product or service.

To see how a story can be constructed, let’s take the example of a story of Recovery.

The key feature of a Recovery-type story is that the main character experiences a loss of control over time and needs help to regain it.

We’re going to construct this story using seven steps structured across three sections, as follows:

  • Introduction and background (Steps 1, 2 & 3)
  • Main body (Steps 4, 5 & 6)
  • Wrap-up (Step 7)

We’ll start by outlining below the story’s first three steps, which make up the ‘Introduction and background’ section.

We’ll then use a simple interactive tool to help you think about the sort of content that could go into these steps, along with guidance as to what the ‘Main body’ and ‘Wrap-up’ sections could look like.

Introduction and background

Step 1. The headlines: If your listeners only remember one thing from your entire story, this is what you want it to be. Your headlines should therefore be a one or two sentence takeaway that is novel and memorable. Simple metaphors or similes are very effective at doing this. Using them might feel a little awkward at first, but they stick in the memory and they work.

Step 2. Get emotional and start the journey: Make a connection with your listeners by mentioning something about your story’s main character with which they can empathise on an emotional level. Having got their emotional buy-in, you can then use the rest of the story to take your listeners on an emotional journey.

Step 3. Introduce the hero: Set up your story’s hero. Personalise it (say who), and provide some detail that’s relevant to your listeners’ own situations (for example, around industry and experience).

A free interactive storytelling tool

Now we’ll use the tool below to further explore our example story’s structure and steps:

(The tool is free. You do not need to register or enter any details in order to use it.)

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