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Stories that touch us as people

Here is an editorial Chris wrote on company storytelling for bright magazine in August:

“Being able to tell a compelling story is a key factor in the success of some of our largest exporters. What are the types of stories that you remember the best? Great stories are the ones that touch us as people.

If you think about the stories you love – those told in your family, read as children or adults, presented on stage, film, in church or those that touch us every day through the media – you will find that they are dramatic: there is a situation of conflict, protagonists or characters, struggle and resolution. The main characters always put themselves on the line – they are the heroes. There is action. The stories have strong visual images. The best can also be summarised in a few words: this is a love story, a tragedy, a funny story, a story of endurance, of fantasy, of crime.

Many business stories are in contrast dry and do not make an emotional impact. How can companies bring more of the elements of great storytelling into their own story? Have a think about the last time you told a good story and everyone laughed or understood. You must have built up rapport. That is what more New Zealand businesses need to do when heading overseas. It’s not enough to simply lay out your product or service.

Have a think now of the business stories that stand out for you. What are the elements that are in those stories and not in yours? What will you need to do to put those elements in there? Industry experts agree that many more of New Zealand’s exporting companies could create stronger stories but much more thought, creativity and work is needed.”

Examples of strong storytelling can be found in our Links section.



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