Story telling

What with life going on, and the internet, I have little time for reading books these days.  I practically never read fiction.  But I did some work for a friend and she sent me the novel she’s just published, so I threw responsibility to the winds this past weekend and lounged for hours on the couch reading Hannah’s House.  What an exquisite pleasure!  It’s a wonderful story, masterfully written.  Highly recommended!

And it reminded me of the value of stories.  Most get their fiction fix through the television, I suppose; but since I watch little of that, I realize I have been story-deprived for some time.  A great story lives while you read it, and lives for a good while afterwards as well.  Its characters seem to show you the way, continuing to speak long after you’ve closed the cover.  A great story reminds us that we can bring our dreams close, and with only a little concentration, we can live them.  A great story lifts us from the mundane mire.

Stories have beginnings, middles, and ends.  There is a progression of some kind, and afterwards you can compare the end to the beginning and see a difference.

It’s rather like this with the product of your business, right?  There’s the before picture, and then the after one.  There’s a story about that progression.  Considering how stories tend to communicate with multiple layers of meaning, and to stick with their audiences long after the telling, using your stories in business can have powerful effect.  Making your communications with your market into stories will gain you immediate fans. 

The world of commerce often seems to be about formality and correctness, the opposite extreme from the up close and personal nature of stories.  And stories for business do indeed need to be somewhat cleaned up for mass consumption.  But just how much you tweak and sweep is the key.  Too much, and it’s no longer a story but just a slogan.  Not enough, and you narrow the slice of appreciative public.  Just right, and you awaken, liberate, enlighten, and soothe; and become an unforgettable source of comfort for your market.

If manifesting your own stories seems too difficult an assignment, the power of the medium is such that it’s probably worth hiring a writer to get it down and do the shaping.  No other kind of communication is as effective.  Even a picture tells a story.

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