Sure, yes, you have a story about how your next door neighbor growing up was born on leap year which meant that you technically turned 21 before she did…
…but how does that story pull your dream clients closer to trusting and working with you?
Bull's eye. It doesn’t.
So which stories do? Which stories, when told in a compelling way, get your readers to open the minds and hears to you?
(BY THE WAY, I did have a neighbor who was born on leap year. Her name was Elva. I turned 21 before she did even though she’d been alive for 84 years. We celebrated together :) She was a hip cat. I can still hear her singing to Donavon Frankenreiter, “They call me Mellow Yellow. Quite rightly!”)
Back to our topic on hand:
In honor of International Woman’s Day, I’m going to show you how choose the right stories to tell your readers, audience members and dream clients by sharing 3 stories about the women who shaped me. May you learn and enjoy!
How to choose the right stories
Some of your personal stories will not be your best business stories.
That’s why I love this Q. It’s so important to know which ones to use and which ones not to.
The Answer: Choose stories that help enhance your business in 2 ways:
They directly influence your current business.
They position you as an authority in some way.
I have two favorite stories about my mom. (OK, I have lots of favorite stories about my mom. Humor me here.)
One works for my biz. One definitely does NOT.
Let’s see if you can pick the appropriate story from the not so appropriate story…
Story A: The time she took off driving while I was still half-way hanging out the van. How did she not notice the giant slider door wide open??? LOL
Story B: How she writes love notes for everything. I’d get one in my lunch box everyday. Even when I was in the 10th grade, she was still sending me notes. Most 10th graders would have been embarrassed. I really loved it. Made me smile every time. #LoveYouMom
OK, I hope it was obvious.
Clearly, Story B aligns with my business more than Story A. I call emails electronic love letters, for goodness sakes! Let's take a look at another example. This time a full story...
How to use the right stories
How to use stories to define your strengths & authority
When I was a young girl my favorite T.V. show growing up was not the typical choice for a girl my age. It came on Nick-At-Night. It was black and white. It wasn't the Munsters. Can you guess what it was? I Love Lucy. I watched reruns every night. I even got a Lucy Barbie doll one year for Christmas. It was from the Chocolate Factory Episode.
Now that was one funny lady! And I didn't realize it back then but she was teaching me some pretty important lessons about myself and my future business...
1) Her arsenal of expressions. I was learning how to emote before I knew how to spell it.
2) Her incredible comedic timing. I was learning about the importance of creating tension for an audience so as to get the best possible outcome (in her case, biggest laugh possible ).
3) Her shenanigans. Between her and her bestie Ethel, Lucy was always making a fool of her self. She was clumsy, goofy, and got herself into all kinds of trouble. The storylines were some of the best. She was teaching me how to write entertaining, engaging stories.
3) Her presence. She was showing me that it's normal for women to take the stage and shine. Even if your clumsy and goofy. Looking back, I realize I've been studying storytelling since before middle school. It's so easy to see where many of my writing "gifts" came from. (And why I'm up for almost any adventure!) It's hard to imagine writing copy and doing what I'm doing now without having watched I Love Lucy growing up.
Do you have a personal story of someone like that? What lessons were you learning about who you can be in the world and what you're capable of?
You'll want to write these stories down. This is about understanding your strengths and gifts and where they come from. You can also use stories to show personal revolution... How to use your stories to open your audience's mind to your ideas This is especially beneficial if you want your reader or audience to open their mind to a new way of thinking or new concept. What you do is share a story that ends in a specific personal revelation. You want to choose a story/revelation combo that prepares your reader to buy-in whatever it is you're offering. In most cases, this means you'll be introducing a new, more empowering mindset to them or giving them a new way of looking something they've been struggling with. Here's one for mindset: This one time, my mom, brother, aunt and I were staying in the dankest of dank motels. It smelled like band-aids, OK. The beds weren't made when we got in the room. The lights flickered. And there are only 2 things I remember from that night. One, how gross it was. Two, how much fun we had. Because while my mom tried to find us another hotel, my Aunt Becky some how made the most ickiest of situations into a spectacular game night. She made makeshift toys and game boards. My brother and I had so much fun we completely forgot how bad the sheets smelled. I learned an important lesson from my aunt that night: Everything is figure-out-able. From there, my audience is now open to the new mindset I want them to adopt. Now I'm free to teach more about it with little to know resistance from them. Now, it's your turn...