Story Telling & It’s Power (Accidental Entrepreneur)
Welcome to my 6th weekly article on the importance and power of effective story telling.
Building trust, developing a connection with the audience & being genuine are crucial parts to telling a story. The main takeaways are to be able to convey messages both effectively and emotionally regardless who you’re talking to.
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My goal is to be able empower folks to go after their goals and reach their full potential!
“நாநலம் என்னும் நலனுடைமை அந்நலம்
யாநலத்து உள்ளதூஉம் அன்று” — திருக்குறள் (641)
"A tongue that rightly speaks (tells appropriate stories)
the right is greatest gain, It stands alone midst goodly
things that people obtain." — Thirukural (641)
Have you tried to convince others that your idea is good and to follow your lead? Have you tried to talk others into investing in your ideas? Everyone who wants to be an entrepreneur, normally has good ideas and great conviction. It is how you tell those stories and get others to trust you which is as important as having conviction in yourself. In this article, I plan to articulate the situations where this is critical and provide a few pointers on how I approach this by using “Storytelling”.
Building Alliances: It could be building a small founding team, building a core team to execute your vision, getting validation from experts in the field or ultimately building a company, it is important to have a very compelling story. By creating a compelling story around the product's needs, your value that’s brought to the table, and the profitability of a certain direction with the end product are necessary details.These are details one creates by doing market research, leveraging personal experiences and following the direction of the industry. Once you identify these, it is time for you to convince others to join you in the journey by investing, joining as team members or becoming an advocate. I have seen and worked with great storytellers who successfully achieved these. Few of my learnings are:
Making Connections: Prior to starting a meeting or interview, I use a mechanism of small talk. This time helps me extract some information about the other person and his or her background. In addition their interest goes beyond the job at hand. During these conversations, I become vulnerable and open up about some situations I had encountered previously. Having lived in many continents and travelled around the world along with the difficult early life experiences I had easily provided me with enough materials to have versatile conversations. During these early conversations, I kept my listening ears wide open with empathy by paying attention and asking follow up questions. I close out these connecting moments by acknowledging what I heard at the end of the meeting during one on one handshakes and goodbyes. This provides me with a good opportunity to leave a good impression and build a neurological connection in my memory to remember in the future.
Being Genuine: During the meetings, interviews or presentations, I tend to act very casual. Rather than act as if I know everything, I tend to be very open and pause during my conversations to listen to the comments. This helps with setting up situations to be more conversational and provide opportunities for others to chime in seamlessly.
For being a good storyteller, it is important to bring the audiences along with you on your story and journey. By being genuine, it becomes easier for others to connect with your story and see your point of view clearly. I can at times be overly eager to please others by being very genuine but I rather do that than be rigid and undermine others with my wrong attitude.
Situational Awareness: Being aware of the mindset of one’s audience is very important. What it means is who are the people in the audience, what is the purpose of the meeting and what is the end goal of the gathering. While these small talks and icebreakers are good to start the conversations, one needs to have focus on the end goal. What I have seen is that good storytellers would keep the story short to 1-2 minutes and will have a focus point to make. Most of the decision-makers are busy with many important tasks. Giving them a good story to remember within a few minutes provides you an unfair advantage after the meetings.
Corporative vs Confrontational: Best stories I have heard in my experiences are, interesting enough, very controversial. They would challenge the status-quo and provide an approach or solutions the audience never thought of. Early in my career I was afraid of bringing up controversial points or stories. I learned from a few experts in these areas like one of my co-founders who could challenge any Fortune 500 CEOs and raise tens of millions of dollars. Another person is a sales VP, who would challenge the customers on the approach for a solution or during closing of high value high risk deals. It is not that all conversations are confrontational but those are quite interesting. On the other hand I tried to be corporational with others' needs and tell the story accordingly.
Storytelling has been a great instrument in my toolbox for convincing others to follow my leads, invest in my companies and to buy my products. First step is to make simple connections and be genuine with the story as well as the messaging. Later, close with a good ending for both sides. For those who want to be successful entrepreneurs, learn to tell your story, learn to tell your product story, learn to connect with investors, team members and customers by articulating the story effectively as well as emotionally. Let me know what your story is.