Storytelling for Business – Debora Luzi
Enchant your audience and connect through sharing your stories.
“It’s gone!” I cried out.
Lunchtime had arrived and I desperately wanted to take a break from answering the phone. My stomach rumbled to get my attention. I opened the office cupboard, grabbed my bag and looked inside for my lunch.
But suddenly my appetite was gone – just like my book!
Gone! My almost finished book that I’d been writing for over a year. The proof of my worldwide adventures; the honour to the journey I had endured for many years – just vanished.
Where had it gone? It dawned on me. Of course. I knew why. The universe had taken it away because it wasn’t good enough. “Who are you to publish a book?” it whispered…
Why did I even think that?
Because my writing had always been dismissed and considered not good enough, even though it was my most profound passion. I couldn’t even get high marks in Italian literature, my native language and 4.5 was the highest score I’d ever received.
I had always loved writing. I started writing diaries at a young age and the pen became my best friend. I wrote to escape a reality I often didn’t like and to find imaginary friends who would love and support me in my beautiful, imaginary worlds.
No more hiding
When I started my business five years ago, I could no longer hide. I had to show up and write – and I did. I allowed my joyful and optimistic nature to shine through in my informal, humorous and sometimes sarcastic, way. It was challenging and I had to fight many internal battles as my mind kept reminding me that I was a ‘4.5’, that my English was not perfect and that I had nothing new to say.
My mind felt like a wrestling ground at times and, one day, during one of those exhausting battles, I decided I didn’t need a writing course to become a better writer; I was already a good one! No, my intuition and heart were nudging me to open my own writing academy. Fearful and excited at the same time, I listened. I did it and my own book followed soon after.
Connecting to your audience
You may wonder why I’m telling this story when you’re here to learn about how you can use storytelling in your business, not about how the pumpkin turned into a carriage?
But don’t you feel you know me a bit better?
Don’t you feel just that little bit closer to me when you can resonate with parts of my story?
I hope you do, as stories bring people together. Stories engage and connect. Stories are worth 100 qualifications because a story that shows your courage in overcoming your challenges and qualifies you more in the eyes of your audience than any diploma.
Since the beginning of time, we have evolved and connected through storytelling. Everyone loves stories and everyone talks about sharing stories, but the dilemma is how to share the stories in the right way?
Your story is not your cv!
Most people share stories as a cold chronicle, focusing on the facts rather than the feelings (facts are much easier to share than feelings). People who share their stories often feel fearful, with a fear of being judged or criticised, so they share facts like in a curriculum vitae!
Telling stories, especially in business, is about choosing the parts on your life timeline where you had the most significant transformation related to what you do now.
It’s about telling your story using emotion, drawing your readers in and keeping them on their toes. You need to deeply connect to your emotions, using metaphors and descriptive language so your reader can see, feel, taste and smell your story and come a little bit closer to you with each sentence.
To do this, go back to that moment you are sharing, deeply and describe how you felt. Then ask your reader if they may have felt the same way?
Something to take into consideration when you share stories is choosing the right entrance line. People’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter, so you want to catch your reader’s attention with a statement to make them curious, one that makes them want to read more. Starting with “once upon a time” or “5 years ago” or “My name is Debora” is unlikely to create any excitement and curiosity!
I always advise my students to pick the most shocking, eye-opening moment of the story and create an entrance line from it.
“He looked into my eyes and he asked me to leave.”
What happened next?
Don’t you want to know? I’m sure you’re eager to keep reading as suspense and curiosity are two of the most fundamental ingredients when it comes to storytelling!
The use of direct speech is also very powerful as it makes the whole scene more realistic through the eyes of the reader.
Another point to consider when telling stories is to ensure you have a clear message in mind to deliver. Don’t share stories just because your coach asked you to! Give it a purpose and charge it with the right energy.
How to start
The first few questions to ask yourself when you share a story are these:
Why do I want to share this story?
How do I want to make my readers feel?
What teachings do I want to gift to them?
What possibilities do I want my reader to create for themselves?
These questions will help you define the powerful message you want to deliver. Make sure you wrap the whole story with it and deliver it powerfully until the end of the story to leave the reader feeling motivated and energised when they finish reading.
The magnetising factor that brings your clients closer to you is the conviction and passion you share your story with and, to this day, one of my most successful posts (which brought me many clients) was a very vulnerable storytelling post where I didn’t even mention I was a coach neither added a call to action.
I shared from my heart with the strongest intention and added a powerful question at the end (which was not an invite to work with me). I used direct speech to involve my reader in the story, made it very visual for them and hooked them into it with a powerful opening sentence.
What’s the secret?
The secret is not to give away the story or the main plot in the next paragraph. You’ve worked hard to grab your reader’s attention so keep them hanging onto your every word.
My best advice is to start feeling comfortable with sharing stories—your story on your website is not enough. I share stories all the time and I share them in the same way I would to my best friends or my children.
The more you try to filter your story from your headspace, the less your audience will feel connected to you.Take a lift from your head down to your heart and share the story from there.
Trust me, magic will happen.
Debora Luzi is an author, writing mentor and word lover and she’s passionate about teaching entrepreneurs how to turn their words into sales and impact millions. She’s founder of The Writing Academy for Entrepreneurs; the only online community focused at content creation for entrepreneurs with members from all over the globe. Debora is also the founder of the Women who dare to Desire Conference; a centre stage for visionary women who are ready to inspire the world with their message and story.
Debora’s book ‘Writing Inspiration for Entrepreneurs – 55 and 1 Content ideas to turn your words into Sales” has received words of appreciation and acknowledgments from accross the globe.