Business Storytelling

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“Storytelling is about two things; it’s about character and plot”

George Lucas

I apologise for the lateness of my monthly blog. I aim to release my monthly blog on 21st of the month. I have just been trekking in the McDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs in Central Australia. A bit hard releasing your blog in the great Australian Outback! What an amazing scenery ranging from spinifex and mulga covered hills to gorges of ferns and white river gums…..

Well might you ask what has a quote from a famous movie director got to do with business story telling?

Using stories in business as a communication tool is a very important part of communicating with your current and prospective customers. If the story is compelling enough or inspiring enough it will become part of the culture of the business demonstrating your values and where the company came from. More importantly it helps sell your products and services.

Everybody likes a good story and like what George Lucas says the plot and character are vital. I find stories about how businesses start as the most compelling and fascinating. Hewlett-Packard was started in a garage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Garage) by Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett in 1938 and the garage is now part of company culture. What an inspiring story!

I once worked for a company where the owner in his mid-50s lost his business his father and uncle had established after fleeing the Nazis in Europe. He and his daughter commenced a new business in their rented flat on their kitchen table – it later became the largest supplier of sleeping bags in Australia. What a compelling story for staff and customers…..

People whether staff or customers warm to stories of success from hardship – a plot and character just as George Lucas suggests. It’s emotional and uplifting. However the story must be authentic – if you are not authentic it damages you and your business or brand.

I visited Nepal just over 2 years ago with an Associate to assist a locally owned and managed travel company to improve their business. It was a both an exciting and rewarding experience and hearing how the business commenced was inspiring and a great story.

As a young boy, the founder watched groups trekking through his village in northern Nepal. He had a vision and decided to create his own future. Whilst in his early teens he went to Kathmandu to high school without his family (in Nepal high schools are only in the largest cities). From there he worked in a hotel as a porter, before moving into hotel reception. To gain practical experience in trekking he became a guide, completed his university studies before establishing his own tour company. All this was less than 15 years ago. It is now one of the largest trekking companies in Nepal. As well as offering employment and training in a comparatively poor country, he also has a mission to give back something to the people of Nepal. He instigated school building projects in poor and remote areas as well as making significant financial donations are to schools in these areas.

Both are good examples of stories that can inspire staff because they explain where they came from and help embody the values and provide the foundation of the culture and vision for the company.

Do you have some great stories you can tell your customers and staff?

……………it will help give colour to your communication.

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