Tuesday, February 19, 2013

One Two Buckle My Shoe...

My thoughts for this post were to explore the fascination we have with lists and numbers. By far the most popular posts on blogs and most read articles in magazines are those with numbers in the titles...lists.
Five Ways to Cook That Chicken, Ten Ways to Say I Love You...that sort of thing. There are apparently numerous studies about why we're drawn to them. I believe they promise a succinct presentation...step by step instructions of whatever they're telling you to do or not to do. I started to commit here to writing all of my posts with numbered lists for the next month but as I started writing that post it occurred to me that while I am drawn to those types of posts myself, I am not a person who thinks in numbers.

I'm a person drawn to generalities. I had colleagues in the meetings industry that can walk into any conference space and tell exactly how many square feet it has. I walked into space and thought it was big or medium or small. It could fit 'a lot' of people or 'not very many' people. I'm also a person drawn to music and stories. Some people remember facts and figures. I can remember them as long as they're connected to a story. I could make an A on any history test if I could listen to a good lecture on the material. I could remember and pull out details from long presentations if they were told to me as a story. So I'm sticking to that style here in my basement corner office.

Not to say that I won't publish posts with list or with titles with numbers in them. I'll pull out a 'Five ways to' post every so often because those are valuable and I like them. But I will tell stories here...the why behind the facts, not just the facts. I'm a southerner, we're storytellers by birth. I believe that being a storyteller is the most effective way to market to and sell to your clients.  I think stories are so important and here are four reasons why :-)

1-Stories give us something to relate to
Stories provide a context for someone to relate to you, your message or your brand. When I hear a story about a woman in her 40's who is starting a business I'm interested. I can relate. I will listen to that pitch when I might not listen to the same company whose presentation starts off telling me simply what they do. I feel a sisterhood with the company from the outset. I'm already a warm prospect at that point. The Subaru commercial of the father talking to the little girl in the car who drives off a teenager is a story most parents of teen drivers relate to...a great story for their brand.

2-Stories are memorable
A song is just a story set to music. Think of how many song lyrics you can remember from years and years ago. I've met a lot of people who I remember by a story they told even when I couldn't remember their names. I remember bits and pieces of stories I've heard told in the past. I remember stories that I've heard so many times that I feel like I was 'there' when the events in the story transpired.

3-Stories are viral
How many stories have you told over and over again? How many stories have you heard someone else tell that you then found yourself sharing, if not stealing? How many stories have you heard and wished they were yours? A great story gets spread around...your cousins in California here it from their aunts in Kansas.

4-Stories have staying power
My mother tells the same stories about my sister and me arguing as children every single time she hears our children arguing. I tell my children the same stories over and over again about the nights they were born on their birthdays. My husband and I relive the same stories from our awesome wedding every year on our anniversary.  'Remember that time when' is a frequent conversation starter when I'm around a group of old friends. Talking to your clients or prospective clients in stories is powerful.

Just a few of the reasons that I've made peace with being a storyteller. I often take far too long to make a point and not everyone appreciates my need to build a beginning, middle and ending to an explanation or sales call. But we all have to bloom where we're planted as my grandmother used to say. I hope you'll pull up a chair here often for my stories.

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