Humans are wired for story. It is how we pass information from generation to generation, it is how our brains best process information, and it is the best way to hold people’s attention.
If you are a business or non-profit, you definitely want to get on the story bandwagon! The non-profit world has used stories to increase their fundraising efforts – not only the organizations’ founding story, but also stories of how lives have been impacted by their efforts. It is easy to say no to a request for money. It is much harder to say no to a request for money when you’ve just read about how a child’s life has been changed by the work of the non-profit.
It’s not only important for the non-profit world – it applies to business as well. Throwing around facts – no matter how compelling – will not resonate or connect with the people you want to reach as much as a good story.
One of the most compelling reasons to focus on stories is it tells people what you want them to be saying about you and maybe more importantly it gets you in the mode of telling people what you want them to know. Sometimes businesses hide behind facts and figures. They many feel that stories, especially those that don’t apply directly to the business at hand, may seem irrelevant at best and self-aggrandizing at worst.
It’s time to toot your horn! People want to hear about the things that make you human rather than just the things that make you a good business – they go hand in hand. So, let’s hear about the problem you solved for a client, the decision you made that led to something unexpected, the donation you made to support a charity you believe in, why you got into this business and why you’re staying, etc. Go ahead and incorporate some facts and figures if you want – they are more memorable when tied to a story.
Post the stories on your website, use them in your marketing materials, send out solicitations with photos and stories that will help your audience feel connected to you and your mission.
How about you? What stories do you want people sharing about your business or organization?