Storytelling is Not Just For Children by Fatima Salaam

If you have a purpose and you want people to support it. Then, you have to enchant them with your story. You have to become a “Master Story Teller”. Why is it important to be able to tell your story? Facts tell. Stories sell. Stories connect your mission and vision to people.

Other reasons:

  1. It is simple.
  2. Timeless.
  3. Demographic proof- everyone can relate.
  4. Contagious.
  5. Easy to remember than number and charts etc.
  6. Inspire.
  7. Appeals to all type of learners.
  8. Get your message across without arrogantly telling listeners what to think or do.

Two types of adults respond well to stories– story thinkers and men. People older than 40 were taught to be analytical thinkers. Presentations, charts, graphs, and reports jam packed with numbers and information worked for the analytical thinkers.

For story thinkers, think of how Facebook statuses are short stories of our friends and families. Twitter’s 140 characters is a shorter story. And Snapchat tells a story that captivates and then disappears. This means that we have to be able to capture our audience within the first 10 seconds.

Before you can tell your story, first you have to break free of your past story and create a new story. People are moved by heroic and vibrant stories. People want to hear a story of a heroine who overcame the odds.

When I meet with my clients initially, I ask them to write their narrative and then their press release. Think of a narrative as the story your attorney would help you craft for the judge in a contentious divorce after 25 long years of marriage. LOL. Our narratives tell the stories of our pain, baggage, heartbreak, failures and losses. We may blame, over exaggerate, or selectively remember. It is important to honor your truth, validate it, and then move on. But it is essential to remember that is your side of the story, your truth, and your perspective. While it may be what you know for sure, it may not hold up in a court of law.

After a client has written her narrative, I tell her to put it in a safe place and not to bring up the details again for the period of time that we work together. Then, I ask her to write her press release. Our press release is the story of our dreams, our future successes, and our triumphs over tragedy. It is the story that we would want on the cover of our local paper, or better yet O magazine.

Both of these activities lead to watershed moments and epiphanies for our clients. They are able to heal and then focus on the future. I encourage you to write your narrative, share it with a very supportive person, and then put it away. Then, write your press release, share it and post it in your office.

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