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What’s Your Story?

Why are stories important?

As a child, what did you want to hear most before going to bed or to help you understand something? A story!

Why would it be any different when we grow up? I don’t think most of us want to grow up. Deep inside each of us is still a child who loves hearing a good story.

A good story is captivating. Engaging. It draws you into a new world, letting you explore new possibilities and adventures through your imagination.

When people ask you what you do for a living, usually what they’re really asking is, “What’s your story?”

They will ask things like, “Where did you study? What do you do from 9 to 5? Where do you live? Are you married? What are your hobbies and interests?”

It all translates to, “Tell me a story.”

Story is how we learn about each other, understand each other and find common ground. It’s how we answer important questions that we usually can’t ask outright. Questions like, “What are your values? Do we have anything in common? Can I relate to you? Do I want to be your friend and encourage your business? Can I trust you?”

Stories are what being human is all about! From the beginning of time, long before writing (let alone video) existed, we have been telling each other stories.

It is how we connect. 

We all have a beginning, a development and an end. A life story. When we know someone’s story, we connect with them. We understand them and relate to them.

When choosing to buy a product or engage a service, don’t you feel better about your choice when you know something about the company, the brand or even the business owner? Would you feel at ease buying from a company you knew nothing about? Unless you’re a robot, your answer is probably no!

How often do you meet someone and almost immediately ask yourself, “I wonder what her story is?” You may even make one up in your mind if they don’t tell you right away. Story is that powerful! But even then, we want to know the real story. We want to know if we should stick with the person or not. Invest more time with them or not. We want to know what we have in common with them, if we can trust them and if they are likely to understand us!
Business is ultimately about relationships. Those relationships start with a story. Customers, clients and even partners want to know your story because your story is your identity. Your story tells them if you’re on the same wavelength in business and in life. If you’re someone who can understand their needs and wants. If you’re someone they can trust.

Story is the best way to get to know you and decide if they want to have a relationship with you or not.

Here is a good example:

I recently met this great businessman in Vietnam: Let’s call him Mr. Liem for the purpose of the story My friend in Montreal had been doing business with his company for three years, but because of the distance, he had not had the chance to see him face to face often enough. So, to make business easier, my friend decided to pay him a visit.

Since I was in Vietnam with my friend, Mr. Liem insisted that I come along for dinner. He told us about his childhood during the war when they had nothing to eat, how his village had vanished and how he was planning to build a new one by the ocean. He even invited us to visit in 2020 and, just like that, we were part of his story!

He told us how he had wanted to become a lawyer and an artist, but that he ended up being an entrepreneur. He told us of the beginnings of the business that was started 20 years ago, how they started with just five employees and had grown to over 2000 with clients across the globe. And now, he was so happy his son was on board.

What a nice success story!

Mr. Liem was captivating and had charisma. There’s no question that he was charming. But what I really fell in love with were his stories.

His stories bore his humanity. In our minds, we saw the narrative of his life unfolding. His character, his strength and his business.

It was only one short dinner, but because of his stories, it was enough to learn that we shared similar values and were all on the same wavelength. My friend was even more excited to be visiting his business the next day.

By sharing his story, freely and with authenticity, we felt he had opened up to us. We had connected. Even I wanted to do business with him!

Throughout my career, I have met many business owners and entrepreneurs. Not all of them stay in my memory. But those with a story, who share their story, are the ones I never forget. It is because of Mr. Liem’s story that I will always remember him.

When someone dares to open up to you, you want to have a relationship with them. You want to support them, be their friend, connect with them.

When you have a story to tell, people relate to you. It is the start of a relationship.

If we were not human, we would probably be satisfied simply with a product or service. But, as humans, we are always hungry for a good narrative. We want to buy a product, but we want a story behind it too. We want something that makes it human. Something we can relate to. Something to captivate us.

If you want to be remembered, tell your story.

Now, you probably don’t have the time (or budget) to invite everyone to your favourite restaurant.

But you do have time for a two minute video.

How do you tell a captivating, engaging story that draws people in with just two minutes? That’s where I come in 😉

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