When we think of storytelling, I expect many of us think back to our parents reading bedtime stories to us.
But storytelling - constructing and delivering a compelling narrative which sets you apart - can also be a powerful tool in business, whether you are making a pitch for your start-up business to investors, seeking financing for expansion, or presenting a service offering to a potential or existing client.
Spero Ventures offers five questions which we have adapted to help you create your story:
Can you make a positive difference for this client?
• Always ask yourself first if you can, in fact, solve the problem? Talk to the client, in-depth, asking problem-solution questions (here is the problem, this is how we address it). Make sure you understand the issue or problem at hand, and their goal in resolving it, before you begin to craft your solution.
• If you have the expertise, the resources to solve the client’s problem, will you enjoy doing so? Are they someone you are truly excited to work with? I strongly recommend asking yourself this – ensuring you and the client are a good fit for each other can save you grief down the road.
• If you can make a positive difference and believe the client is a good fit, begin crafting your narrative. Use a personal story for relatability – make sure it is related to the problem you propose to solve.
• Note prior successes you have had in similar problem-solving cases.
• Metaphors and analogies are another way to enhance relatability – how is your approach to the problem and solution like and unlike others’ offerings? Be authentic, and be true to yourself.
What is at stake?
• What are the risks currently facing your potential client if no action is taken?
• And what are the potential rewards they can reap if they accept your guidance?
How will you change their world?
• What your proposed solution can do for the client should be explained in simple, easy to understand language. Technical expertise may impress, but understanding breeds trust. Try boiling your message down to a single sentence in a practice session. See how clearly your message resonates with your practice audience.
• What is unique about your solution, and / or your approach?
• What is the client’s goal – their cherished long-term dream – and how can you help them move toward that goal?
How does your solution solve the problem – and reduce the client’s anxiety over it?
• Don’t underestimate the relief of anxiety as a motivator, and make that a goal of your presentation. “You are doing “X,” and getting results that make you anxious and nervous. But if we implement “Y” instead, it will reduce your anxiety, by providing a better solution going forward.”
• Use statistics, but sparingly. People like them, but overuse can lead to confusion. Pick the most relevant statistic – the one that best furthers the story you are telling.
• Tell the story – remember, this process should produce a seamless tale, ending in the client’s fulfilling their goal.
Craft your narrative.
• In drafting your presentation, take all the notes you’ve made, all the data you’ve gathered and noted, and begin – with a call to adventure into a new way forward. You and the client will walk this road together.
• Be as specific as possible to the individual life you hope to improve. Make sure you do your background homework, and incorporate everything you know and have learned into crafting your narrative.
How do you go about preparing a presentation? What works best with your target base? Please click here to email me directly – I would love to know what works for you.
Until next Wednesday –