Your job benefits when you tell a good story. Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of education. Because it’s effective! Many stories have been sung to safely and accurately deliver messages to warn of danger, share history lessons and honor legacies. Well before cloud storage, computers and even books, essential information could be passed from one generation to the next in lyrical form.
As a songwriter and lover of tall tales, I am a firm believer in the power of a compelling narrative. It’s the passion that fuels my function as Director of Communications at Atrium. It’s an effective way to engage your audience whether presenting, convincing or simply socializing. It is a bit of an art but also a science. So, if you’re not Bob Dylan, don’t worry. I am here to help. Let’s start with a few simple rules.
3 Songwriting Tips to Perfect Your Pitch
1. Be relevant.
Your job benefits from storytelling when you understand who is listening. So, tell a story that matters to your audience. It’s not just about conveying a message, you want to be engaging. How is your communication relevant to the here-and-now? You want to connect those dots. It helps hone the purpose of your message. And the more purposeful you are with your communications, the more likely you are to achieve your messaging goal. You should avoid copying and pasting a one-size-fits-all narrative. Genuine messages are better received. By sharing information with people as individuals you can better assure the relevance of your message.
If you’re searching for something fitting, try to pinpoint common ground. Just like a relationship, a good story begins with an introduction. Do you want to be formal or casual, relaxed or urgent, informative or persuasive? Choose a style that suits your communication goal. You can look to emerging data, recent press or social trends to get your dialogue started. Or, you can praise recent awards or audience-specific milestones. The goal is to provide context for your story. So, set the stage with relevant background information and choose a tone that makes sense for your audience.
2. Be outcomes focused.
Once the purpose and relevance of your message are clear, put it into context. What are the results you wish to achieve? Frame your story around them. For instance, if you identify a challenge, share why you want to help overcome it. Make it meaningful. By helping your audience understand specific pain points, the problem instantly becomes relatable. A good story has an obvious conflict. And you want to have an obvious answer to it.
Client success data, recent press and testimonials can help you create persuasive narratives. Just remember, in a sales or otherwise client-facing role, the hero of the story is always the customer. You are the guide. You want to tell a story about helping your client assure their success. Trust me. When you cheer for the achievements of others, praise is returned to you by way of continued partnerships, referrals and even greater opportunities.
3. Be vulnerable.
Personalizing your story is key to making a real impact. If you’re worried about oversharing, go back to step 1. You must know your audience. Once you do, you can connect more genuinely. Think back to all those Disney characters we are still invested in because of a good story. Ariel’s job benefits to this day because she allowed us to be a part of her world!
Humor is also an effective way to tell a story. It often is better utilized when presenting or talking face-to-face. Understanding comedic timing is no joke (ba dum tss!). It doesn’t always translate in written form. It’s probably why “LOL,” is overused in our texts. However, when executed effectively, humor can soften otherwise harsh or overly direct statements.
Whether your job benefits from a heartwarming, clever or hilarious story is up to you. The goal is to deliver your message in a likeable and memorable way. Our emotional connections are what initiate, sustain and grow our relationships. So, tap into your storytelling influence and build your network. Beyond how your job benefits from a captivating story, your career can benefit as well. Share your professional journey in story form to make a lasting impression.