Why are we so terrible at story telling?

OK, shock value done with. We’re not all terrible at it. Even if we are good at story telling we are bad at it some times. In general however I feel like many professionals have lost the way on this one. But why is it? We are a bunch of passionate, dedicated, driven, ambitious individuals who care. Yet so often we still get it wrong. Why? The base line will always be “not putting enough” into it, work, time, focus, learning. That will always get you. It’s got me before. I’d like to think I try stay aware of it so that I can learn and grow… risk isn’t a problem if you have a plan to recover, right? What about when you are putting you all into it and it still doesn’t work out. Why is that?

What else could it be? Being wrapped up in our own reality? I’m drawn to this one, conceptually, regarding the problem being discussed. I’ve fallen into the trap. Even when I’m 100% focused on not falling into the trap. It’s hard. Seriously. You can spend all day, 100%, focused on the customer, trying to solve the problem. Being hell bent on doing so. Then when you are trying to get to sleep that night you challenge yourself and you realize that it’s because no matter how hard YOU try. It’s YOU that’s doing it.

In short we have to get over ourselves. Check our ego at the door? Obvious, right? I mean if we are really focused on improving ourselves and what we do then we will take that step (trust me, you will) but it’s more than that. We need to break down the barriers between not just ourselves and our customers, not just ourselves and the various people we rely on (and who rely on us) to get our job down, but also the barriers in our own minds. Next step? Reflect with others and encourage debate with the people you trust.

So why is it that we are so terrible at story telling? If we can’t get over ourselves we will be focused on ourselves. We will not be focused on the person we are telling the story for. Because if someone is to believe our story. To engage with our story. To embrace it and live it then it needs to become THEIR story. Just like when you imagine that you are Batman when you watch a Batman movie. Oh, you don’t? It’s fun… try it.

So stop trying to sell. Start thinking about what it would be like to buy. To want to buy. It starts with the first person you share your idea with. They need to buy it. And not because you sold them on it. And if you can’t tell a story that results in people wanting to buy what you have… then to be perfectly honest I’d suggest you try telling a different story.


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