The Art of Storytelling
I just finished reading Chapter 7 of Susan Harrow’s book Sell Yourself without Selling Your Soul, which covers two of my favorite things: storytelling and simplicity.
In this chapter, Harrow connects the art of storytelling to not only personal brands, but businesses as well (think content marketing, like Nokia’s Music mini documentaries). She breaks down the steps you need to take to find your best story; by asking questions that make you think about the history, goals, and struggles that make you unique.
“The process of developing your [story]”, she says, “is about peeling away the unnecessary to arrive at the essential”.
Figuring out how to walk the fine line between too much information and not enough is certainly an art. To fine tune that, Harrow offers a few exercises to her readers to help them develop their stories while keeping one thing in mind: stories are most effective when they touch on human emotion.
To find yours, think about these four things:
- Explain the situation.
- Develop the action.
- State the result.
- Close with an epiphany.
Everyone wants to know who you are, where you have come from and where you are going. Give that to them.
Rule of thumb: if you’re bored with the story, don’t tell it.
Back in 2009, before I began my career, I was struggling with finding my career path. Here’s the personal story I told that eventually led to my hiring at Wheelhouse Search:
- I was engaged fresh out of college and knew I wanted a spectacular wedding, but didn’t have the money to pay for it.
- I graduated with a degree in Communication, enjoyed writing and wanted to start playing with social media past a personal level. So, I approached my local (Yakima) wedding magazine and offered to blog (which I had never done) about my experience planning a wedding in Yakima if they sponsored me. They accepted and Kadee’s Wedding was born.
- I blogged for a year in half and in that time, connected with local businesses, was sponsored by several area vendors for my wedding (free services), was paid to write articles for the magazine, and networked with several brides looking for answers and direction.
- I fell in love with online marketing, blogging, listening to consumers, and networking with others in similar situations. I gained experience that I never could have gotten in an internship or entry level position. Ultimately, this helped shape my career path and lead me to the position with Wheelhouse Search that I hold today.
Now it’s your turn! You can download the entire chapter for free on Harrow’s website, which gives you access to more exercises like the one above, as well as more examples. You can also sign up for her newsletters for notifications on her free webinars.
What are some of your tips or secrets for finding your story?