The Greatest ROI for You and your organization
If you are not implementing this strategy for your brand, whether you are an individual or an organization, you are drastically undervaluing the no.1 ROI there is…
Did you happen to see former President Bill Clinton’s DNC (Democratic National Convention) speech this Summer?
Did you notice how he began his oration? Did you wonder why?
In case you missed it, Bill Clinton delivered a very colorful, descriptive, enthralling anecdote about his wife Hillary, who happens to be making an historic run as potentially the 1st female president of the United States, and how they first met.
But why on Earth would he start this way?
These were his very first words uttered to the masses. This was a very important speech, one that was hinging upon the craftiness, charisma, and charm (alliteration unintended) of one of the greatest speakers to ever hold the highest office in the land.
Hillary’s numbers were shrouded in her recent controversy over private emails sent on secure government accounts, and the choir was singing a refrain that alluded to her inability to come off as “warm”, engaging, and potentially more damaging to her cause, a large percentage of registered voters viewed her as untrustworthy.
“In the Spring of 1971, I met a girl,” the former president rung out as he greeted the thousands of delegates in the city of brotherly love, and millions of live viewers at home.
It was a first line that had the literary exposition of a Mark Twain novel.
I happened to be in a classroom that muggy evening, teaching of all things an introductory speech course to a group of students that would have rather been playing Pokemon Go than learn the fine mechanics of an effective presentation.
But I did something that night that I have always hoped and wanted to achieve in every class I teach, (I really try to do this with all my classes) and that is to translate the classroom’s boxed learning into real world applicability
So, I turned on the live-stream of the convention and I asked my class to pay attention to the way Mr. Clinton used eye contact, delivery, tone, pace, ect., all the strategies we talked about prior to the speech that one needed to deploy efficiently to reach their intended audience.
But I asked them to pay close attention to the way the former president began his speech.
We had been analyzing the impact of first impressions on your audience all semester; how you begin your presentation and how vital it was to grab your audience from the outset.
Nothing trumps engagement. You can’t have a business without engagement. You can’t sell, whether it be a product, good, or service, without first grabbing your audience’s attention.
You can’t create an audience, a fan base, a following, listeners, customers, without absorbing interest first.
Mr. Clinton needs to sell the idea of his wife being president to the American voter. But before he can sell, he needs to engage. In order to engage, he needs to first grab the voter’s attention.
“How did he begin his speech, class?” I ask as I pause the video after a few minutes.
That’s right! He told his audience a story. But not just any story. He relayed a personal, intimate story about how he and his wife first met.
Attention spans have shrunk exponentially in the past ten years, and the dramatic rise of content and information has quadrupled in volume in this current digital landscape. The information highway is jammed like rush hour on the five freeway in downtown Los Angeles.
It becomes even more imperative to cull your audience’s attention today than it ever has in the past. This puts added pressure on today’s communicators, and a more vehement value on the no. 1 ROI in the 21st century: Storytelling.
What is a story? Why is it so important? How does it leap across the boundaries of fiction writing, entertainment, and theater? Why is it important for businesses, marketers, and brand messengers?
These are all important questions. Good questions.
The best way I can respond is with another question.
What isn’t a story?
If you really think about it, everything is a story, and I would argue that until you know what the story is about that person, place, or thing, it is non-existent. At least for you it is.
And when I mean everything, I mean everything.
You are just a number, just another pair of eyes, a bar code entrenched in a bin of billions of other bar codes. Don’t worry, I am too. We are non entities to one another, that is until we know each others story.
If you came across my profile for any social networking site randomly, without rhyme or reason, you wouldn’t think anything of it. You may say, for a split second, “Nice photo” or “Crappy profile photo” depending on your perspective, and maybe glance at my headline, but that would be it, and that’s asking a lot, I’m probably being generous for narrative’s sake. But that would be the most of it, you would be done with me and swipe faster than you can say emoji.
However, knowing my story, knowing my background, my narrative, how I came to be an author, particularly one who writes about self investigation, emotional intelligence, and mind traps, and what my experiences say about who I am, you may notice something different occurs.
I exist to you. I am real. I am alive. Therefore I can create interest.
How can I create interest if I don’t exist?
Storytelling endears and connects the humanness in me to the humanness of you. By understanding each others story we commence from the cocoon of mechanization to the aliveness of personal connection. And that is solid gold in any field you endeavor upon.
As a matter of fact, I would submit that that is the only way anybody exists to anyone.
It’s one thing to know “about” someone, through vague details and hearsay from others, particularly what news media organizations say “about” that individual or organization. In some respects this avenue of discovery, which would probably be more appropriately described as notoriety, is even more disenchanting and dehumanizing.
But when we are told a story, and when it is delivered with craft, vibrancy, zest, and gusto, and above all else, with creativity — not only does that individual become real, but they come alive right before our very eyes.
Storytelling is the ultimate shovel, digging into the heart of everyone’s character; putting the lines to the face, so to speak.
It is no longer just another person. It is no longer just another company, or ad campaign, marketing strategy, or platform.
We are endeared to Apple Inc., because Steve Jobs was an amazing storyteller.
We are intimate with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, because we know of his personal struggle, and join him in his personal triumph, thereby bringing us in communion with the struggle and triumph of everyone who shared his reality.
And through the power of personal storytelling we come to understand the myriad of cultures, ideologies, backgrounds, belief systems, heritages, and myths that embody the good Earth.
The power of storytelling is conveyed beautifully in Carmine Gallo’s “The Storyteller’s Secret” relaying the long, rich history of story and the art of the storyteller.
Carmine confirms that everything you do, from applying to a job, to giving a presentation, to posting content on social media, involves the telling of a story.
How successful you are at nailing that dream job, executing that presentation, and creating engaging, quality content on social media is predicated on your ability to craft your story, and tell it well.
Credentials and resume prowess is one thing, but you are more than a piece of paper.
At least you need to be in order to succeed.
Who are you? What is your story? Why should anybody care?
These are questions that strike at the heart of every individual and organization’s ability to differentiate itself from the herd.
The beautiful thing is that everyone has a unique story, and can freely express that story to whomever they wish.
But not all know the craft, the style, the nuances of telling a story well.
And no matter how unique, intriguing, or dynamic your story is, if it’s not delivered with the craft in mind, it won’t have a hairbreadths chance of making an impact.
If you want to learn, you can always take my class :)
Or (shameless plug alert) just follow me at my various platforms on social media. Twitter & Facebook: @peternezauthor Snapchat: PeterNez
All kidding aside (although I really would love for you to follow me), learning and adapting the power of storytelling as a crucial commodity for your brand or company is the most important skill for leveraging in the 21st century, and I don’t think it will change beyond this era as well.
You need to investigate, research, navigate, and probe the greatest storytellers in your specific field and pay close attention to how they cater their message, how they translate their story to their specific, intended audience. Study, study, study, and practice like hell.
At the very least, be aware of the value storytelling brings to your mission statement and that is the first step. In recognition we can unlock the first door.
And if you wonder how Bill did in his speech, was he successful at altering the perception his wife has received as of late?
As Jill Abramson from The Guardian wrote, “This humanized her in a way that neither the candidate nor any of her other surrogates have been able to. The speech made a powerful case for her authenticity, honesty and trustworthiness, the aspects of her character people judge her most negatively on. “She is the real one,” he said.”
I guess we will find out in November.
But you should start right now. Invest in the power of storytelling and learn from the masters.
Then share with me what impact it has made.
I would love to get your feedback.
This story was originally published on my Linkedin Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peternezauthor?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile