What is this buzzword, why’s everyone using it and how you could do it yourself.
I love coffee, people, and talking. Not necessarily in that order, but a significant portion of my life has been devoted to spending time with people, usually over coffee while we talked. They talked, told stories, and moved on to the next one. I enjoyed upgrading the best stories, making changes and tweaks, making them shorter or having a longer opening.
In everything I do, I enjoy telling stories. When I’m writing novels, creating brands, or creating articles or microcopy for my clients. When I teach, I especially enjoy incorporating a brand’s story into a lesson. Making a boring 90-minute class into a compelling story that inspires students to remember.
However, we abused this magical ability, storytelling.
We can no longer prevent anyone from claiming to be a self-proclaimed storyteller. There is no diploma, no minimum requirements, just someone who decides they want to teach. There are no numbers or KPIs to track, but storytelling is an ability, a skill, like being funny or being a businessman. You can’t claim to be funny or to be an entrepreneur. That should be said by someone else. I believe the same is true for storytelling.
An author is a storyteller who succeeds when others read, buy, and share his work. Too many people nowadays are self-proclaimed without putting in the effort. Yes, I know that many types of consultants feel the same way, and there are plenty of consultants willing to help you grow on social even if they have never done it themselves.
We are all storytellers
I know you might argue that there are different types of storytelling, long, short, video, audio, snarky, emotional, and so on, and I would agree, but I would also argue that we are all storytellers, just at different levels and abilities.
You get together with your friends and family? Stories
You tell your coworkers about last night’s wild party? Storytelling
You’d like to sell something? Story.
I was recently asked to listen to a podcast about startup storytelling. The lady identified herself as a professional storyteller. It was completed an hour later. Except for the fact that she kept selling herself, I couldn’t recall anything.
You might wonder why she didn’t tell any stories; she simply told the audience what had happened, but a good story has emotions, is thought-provoking, and has something to it. She had given us a lot of information without it.
You are all storytellers; whether you believe you are good or not is entirely up to you. It is also up to you to be able to improve quickly. You can easily improve, and it may even be enjoyable for you.
Here are some simple things you can do to enjoy sotries more, feel more, and improve a little more.
- Read novels and adventure stories. Read books on storytelling, such as Robert Mckee’s ‘Story’ or my new book F*ck the Slides.
- Watch television shows and notice what makes you move, then sit on the edge of your couch. Improving one of the most important life skills entails being a bit of a couch potato.
- Create a 60-word elevator pitch for yourself. What would you say to introduce yourself? What is your name and what do you do? How would you characterize yourself? Is it through your work? What is your family situation?
- Be in touch with your emotions. Things happen; talk to yourself and ask yourself how it affects you. What emotions does it evoke in you? You will quickly discover which types of feelings and emotions have the greatest impact on you. When telling a story, keep those in mind.
- Tell people what kind of story you’re about to tell them and see how they react. You have no idea what a crazy story I heard. If it’s not crazy, funny, or scary, it’s because you see things differently than you’re telling people. Improve by asking why.
True, some people may be better storytellers than others. However, using this buzzword for everything is counterproductive. It is time to teach people how to improve at something they already do.
Sign up for my newsletter to receive more content about storytelling, brands, and marketing.