Leverage the storyteller’s advantage

There is one conversation that I have repeatedly. (Think Groundhog’s Day with Bill Murray.) It goes like this.

“Oh, we are doing a terrible job of telling our story. There are a lot of moving parts, but if we could get the story right, the other pieces would fall in line.”

“Ok,” I say. “What part of your story isn’t being told?”

“All of it. All of it could be better.”

“But if you had to start in one spot…”

“Oh, I don’t know. That’s what I hired you for.”

The reason I have this conversation so often is that the term story has become a catch-all for messaging, marketing, and internal communication issues. Most people recognize the potential of a well-told story. They imagine all the ways it could help their business. But their problem is A) they don’t understand how a story does what it does and B) they have a difficult time articulating the issues they are facing and how those issues connect.

They are left hollering for a five-lettered silver bullet.

This is the storyteller’s advantage: the patience and the skill to identify issues by asking well-ordered questions, and tying the answers together within a story. Of course, that takes time — some issues require the equivalent a world-class diver — and cooperation from all parties involved. But the gains are substantial.

Hire a storyteller.

Hire someone who can ask great questions.

Hire someone that can use honest answers to achieve key results, not just re-lick and re-stick what they get back in a questionnaire.

Leverage the storyteller’s advantage.

Make it work for you.

Hey, I’m Ross. I study the creative process of writers and other makers and share how you can apply them to your life and work.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store