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Why Your Words Aren’t Reaching Them: Storytelling Strategies That Work


A woman looking through a hand held telescope sitting on a stack of large books

Have you ever felt like you're speaking, but your words bounced off an invisible barrier, never truly reaching your audience? 


Picture your client sitting inside a huge plexiglass shield. Some pretty great things are coming out of your mouth, but inside their bubble be-bopping to the beat from their headphones, they don’t hear a word.


You, dear entrepreneur, are not alone. 


Most of our clients have tired-out brains suffering from information overload. It’s the day we live in, right? 


No wonder we stand on our heads on TikTok or spend hours trying to implement every scroll-stopping tactic we can find.


What if there was a way to not only get past this barrier but to build a bridge directly to your audience's heart? 


The secret lies in one of humanity's oldest arts: Storytelling. 


Are you ready to explore some storytelling strategies that will start getting you heard?


Let’s do this.



The Power of Storytelling: 


A lock in the shape of a heart with a key labelled "storytelling"

Storytelling isn't just for writers or public speakers; it's a fundamental human experience that resonates with everyone. (Think about your favourite movie. It’s a story.)


When we share stories, we tap into emotions and experiences that bind us all. 


“She spent her weekend lost in loneliness, wrapped in her favourite blanket, binging on Netflix.” You are peeking into someone’s life.


We feel the loneliness.


For one brief instant, he thought they would call his name. But, the name they announced was not his, and he felt the disappointment come crashing down on him.” 


We’ve all had this moment. Felt this pain. 


Weaving it into the tiniest of stories whisks us back to a moment when we experienced this, too. We’re there. In the story. This is communication at its most powerful.


You may be talking about a business finding its way to being profitable at last. 


...Or a professional navigating challenges and triumphs to reach his dream.


...Or simply be sharing a moment that touched your life. 


Stories have the power to inspire, motivate, and connect. 


Ready to talk about how to make this happen?



Strategies for Effective Storytelling:


A family watching their mom do shadow art with her fingers on the wall while telling a story

Your passion pours out through your pen when you tell stories. You become a storyteller when you believe in your product or service and understand the difference it can make in someone’s life.


Yes, even you. No matter how this idea intimidates you, you are made up of stories. You just have to let them out.


Read on for some great suggestions.


1. Find the Common Thread of Emotion



A girl in a help group giving another girl a firm hug

 

How you experience a situation may be unique, but the emotions and lessons it contains are universal. Identify those, and your story becomes a connection with the heart.



Grasp the importance of this Story Strategy


The importance of this strategy lies in its power to create that deep connection with the audience, as it allows listeners or readers to see parts of their own lives reflected in your story. 


They’ll see you as someone who understands, and they’ll want to know more.



How to Implement


  • Reflect Deeply: Think about your own experiences, focusing on emotionally charged or transformative moments.

  • Identify Relatable Themes:  Look for underlying themes within these experiences, such as resilience, love, loss, or discovery. These are your universal connections.

  • Tell the Story:  Weave your customer story around these themes, identifying with what they’ve been through and how it feels to be struggling or in search of an answer.



Example:


  • The problem you solve: You may work with entrepreneurs. Tell a story about an entrepreneur who experiences the failure of their first startup.  “In the quiet of the night, with the world around you asleep, you lie awake, staring at the ceiling, the weight of your startup's future pressing heavily on your mind. You whisper to yourself, ‘What if we can't make this work? What if my vision is just too ambitious, and we run out of time and money before we even see a glimmer of success?’”

  • The pain: This expresses the entrepreneur's passion, the sleepless nights, the team's efforts, and perhaps the eventual downfall due to unforeseen market conditions. 

The universal in this story emerges as it unfolds—the resilience faced with failure, the lessons learned, and the courage to start over on their way to the solution. 


If your ideal clients are those starting a business, the themes of perseverance, learning from mistakes, and the courage to continue will move them emotionally and connect them to you.


Next, though, is a bit of a warning. If you don't do this sincerely, they will know.



2. Be Authentic 


A man sitting in a chair facing a woman having a sincere conversation


Authenticity is the soul of storytelling. Let your guard down and speak from the heart.



Grasp the importance of this Story Strategy


Authenticity in storytelling means being true to oneself, embracing vulnerability, and sharing stories with honesty and sincerity. 


It's the soul of storytelling because it builds trust with your audience. 


Authentic stories allow the audience to connect on a human level, seeing the storyteller as a narrator and a fellow journeyer through life's ups and downs. 


You are the Guide they know has been where they are.



How to Implement


  • Embrace Vulnerability: Don't shy away from sharing failures, fears, and doubts. These are as integral to your story as your successes.

  • Speak from the Heart: Let your genuine emotions and thoughts guide your storytelling. Authenticity shines when you're recounting events and sharing your emotional journey.

  • Be True to Your Voice: Use language and expressions that are natural to you rather than what you think your audience wants to hear.



Example:


  • The problem as you’ve experienced it: Maybe you’ve been on the journey as a professional and have faced and overcome imposter syndrome. “I've walked this professional path feeling like a fraud, constantly wondering if I actually belong or if I’m just faking it well. Late at night, I’ve caught myself thinking, 'Am I really cut out for this? What if I'm just lucky and nothing more?'"

  • The pain: Instead of just highlighting your eventual success, share your doubts, the moments you felt like giving up, and how you sought help or found strategies to cope.

This story doesn't just tell; it shows the person's vulnerability, making it authentic and deeply relatable.


The last bit of guidance is to pull out all the stops. Let your imagination speak.



3. Engage the Senses 



The soles of 2 feet with smiley face drawings on the toes and the soles

Great stories are immersive.


Descriptive language paints a vivid picture and evokes emotions. So don’t be afraid to use it.



Grasp the importance of this Story Strategy


Use descriptive language. Paint vivid, sensory-rich experiences for the audience. 


It's crucial because sensory details bring stories to life, allowing the audience to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the world described. This immersive approach heightens emotional impact and makes the story more memorable.



How to Implement


  • Use Descriptive Language: Incorporate adjectives and verbs that convey sensory experiences clearly and vividly.


  • Show, Don't Tell:  Instead of stating emotions or facts, describe them through the lens of the senses. What does fear smell like, or victory taste like?


  • Incorporate the Five Senses:  Aim to include details that appeal to all five senses, not just sight and sound but also smell, taste, and touch.

Example:


A sensory-rich story could describe a chef's first day in a professional kitchen. 


Instead of merely stating it was chaotic and exhilarating, the story delves into “the clanging of pots, the sharp scent of citrus cutting through the air, the heat from the ovens, the taste of a sauce that needs adjustment, and the slick feel of flour-coated countertops”. 


This approach allows the audience to experience the kitchen's atmosphere, making the story engaging and immersive. You connect with potential clients who want to know if you genuinely understand their world.




Be real. Be you. Speak from your heart. 


Four young children sitting or squatting and giggling at the base of a tree


Reflecting on my own journey, I've found that the moments when I've made the most profound connections were when I shared stories. 


Whether it was the tale of my first failed venture that led to a groundbreaking success or a simple anecdote about overcoming a personal fear, these opened doors to meaningful conversations and relationships


Put yourself in the shoes of your most desired customer. Feel what they feel. Use words within these story strategies to describe their feelings and anxious thoughts.


They’ll feel seen.


They’ll feel connected to you.


And they’ll want to know who you are, how you found your way through, and how you can help them to do the same.


You see? You do have a storyteller inside of you. Open the door and set that side of you free.



Summarized Takeaways:


  • Storytelling is a powerful tool for effective communication.

  • Authentic, sensory-rich narratives engage and connect with people on a deeper level.

  • Everyone has a story to tell – find yours and share it.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. 


  • What stories have shaped your life or career? 

  • How have you used storytelling to connect with others? Share your experiences in the comments below, and let’s create a book of stories that inspire and connect us all.

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