“You talking to me? There’s no one else here so you must be talking to me!”
Robert Deniro – Taxi Driver
Whether you are a creative, filmmaker, or an entrepreneur, you have to be able to tell a story. But storytelling is an art. So the question becomes “what’s your story?”
You should be able to tell a summary of your story in one sentence. A fifteen-second elevator pitch. Or a two-minute “Sharktank”-like summary.
But don’t start with a condensed version. That is much harder. Instead mind-map what the highlights are you are trying to communicate to your audience. Therefore a key consideration is who’s your audience? Why are you telling this story to that person or group of people? Just run wild with all the ideas, story arcs, etc. that you want to talk about. And write them down.
From there, write – yes write – your story. Don’t start with “it all started out when I was born shoe-less in Miami” (I was). Nobody cares. What are the important parts of your story that will resonate with your audience? WIIFM. What’s In It For Me. It’s a hard world and it’s hard to catch the attention of anyone in this ADD hyper-connected world we live in. So mind-map everything and start to write your script of what’s important.
Next -read it aloud. Preferably when you’re alone so your roommates or significant other doesn’t think you’ve gone crazy. Reading things aloud is a proven way to determine A) if your story makes sense and B) if your story has proper grammar, spelling, and comprehension. This is obviously important if you are telling your story verbally, but it is also crucial if you are posting it via blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Recently I opened two businesses. One is a for-profit media company called Rare Air Studios. The other is a non-profit creative training company called Learn To Be A Filmmaker. As an entrepreneur, I am constantly sharing the stories of both companies to people that may be interested. Whether or not they stay interested is up to me and my #storytelling capabilities.
Examples of each include whether or not I am talking to a potential student, faculty member or investor. I can talk about the “why” of Learn To Be A Filmmaker and WIIFT (what’s in it for them). If the person I am talking to is a potential client for the studio I can explain WIIFT as well. I can do this in one sentence, :15 seconds, :30 seconds, two-minutes, or one hour over lunch. Lunch would be more of a conversation because I care about their story too.
So you know you need to be able to tell your story? Now what? In an insightful series on ideation and creative thinking, my colleague #drlarrystultz through his company #tailwindsofchange, discusses ways we can come up with ideas. Check out his post here: http://www.tailwindsofchange.com/tag/creativity/.
In my next post I’ll discuss how my two-minute story led to a major business introduction that turned out to be a game-changer for my companies and I. Did I mention you need a story?