Crafting a well-constructed story is the art form it should be. The greats understood how to do this, choosing their words wisely while avoiding complexity and vagueness.
A great story enthralls us for several reasons. One because it gives us an emotional jolt. Happiness, sadness, shock, terror, intrigue. Good storytellers know how to wield these emotions to their advantage, keeping the audience hung on every word.
All stories need a compelling protagonist. What makes the main character compelling? The character must go through a change in their quest to achieve their desired goal.
With a story comes obstacles. If every story was free of challenges, then there wouldn’t be any point in telling it.
It would be boring.
But challenges aren’t enough. The main character needs to undergo a transformation. He/she needs to learn something. Perhaps settling an inner conflict torturing them throughout the story.
Change is a fact of life. When the character changes, we change, creating an emotional connection. Without that change, that emotional connection, there would be no reason for us to stick around to find out what happens next.
But stories aren’t just used in literature and film. The best business people know how to use stories to build a brand and sell to their audience. Steve Jobs was brilliant at this.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, he didn’t just stand on stage and discuss the benefits of the iPhone. He told a story, telling the history of Apple and their groundbreaking products. He discussed his competitors, who he described as making a smartphone that wasn’t smart.
Finally, he wielded the power of story by showing a product that was three devices in one. The story of the iPhone, like all Apple products, was about changing the world. He sold the iPhone as a product that was an extension of ourselves, thus making the audience main character.
Steve Jobs was able to do all this by telling a fantastic story.
So how can we use storytelling to impact our lives and business?
If you own a business, think about what drove you to start the business in the first place. What challenges did you face? What were your inspirations? How do your products or services make people’s lives better?
After that, put it all together into something your customers would understand.
Customer’s aren’t just buying a product. They are buying you.
Writing a book is not that much different. What does your main character want? What is stopping him or her from getting it? Is their internal conflict?
Storytelling requires an understanding of the human condition. It sounds difficult, but it isn’t when you think about your goals and the obstacles you face in achieving them. It’s diving deep into your persona, analyzing what makes you tick.
Study the people in your life. Friends, family, acquaintances, enemies. Each person has a unique personality. But we all want the same thing, and that is to empathize with others.