What’s Your Story? The Importance of the Business Narrative

Last week I gave a presentation to the local Chamber’s leadership class. My topic? How to craft a  powerful message. But, it occurred to me that perhaps “messaging” wasn’t the best way to talk about what is needed today.

What we need today is real-life, real-world stories that not only tell us who you are, but how our connection will be mutually beneficial. Your business narrative or elevator pitch should compel usto ask questions and wonder how you do what you do and why. And, it should make us want to remember it. 

Unfortunately in my 25 years of communications consulting I find that no matter the environment, far too many businesses balk at taking the time to identify their story, the most powerful language they could use in light of their business, market and customer base, and, yes, their messages. 

I have seen boards of directors spend an hour arguing over the color of a brochure. Yet, when it comes to devising their elevator pitch they are only willing to spend 45 minutes in between the financial report and the coffee break. 

If you are only willing to spend less than an hour on your story, then you can expect to get an equal return. In short, not much attention. 

So, I challenge all of us – before the holiday parties begin – to think long and hard about who we are, what we do, and why we are different.  

Also, you should be able to do it in less than 10 seconds (to a reporter), less than 140 characters (on Twitter) and at an impromptu run-in to that potential client at the holiday party. 

Below are three key things to think about when crafting your story.

  1. Does it differentiate you from the competition?
  2. Do you really deliver what you say? Are you being truthful?
  3. Is it compelling? Really. Why would anyone care?

Give it some thought. It’s worth it.

  • Amy Vogt November 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Suzanne – This is a great reminder to not lose sight of the big picture, even when our day-to-day tasks demand time and attention. I’m going to take on your challenge — thanks for the food for thought! Amy

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