Anita just got back from a family reunion. Everything went well, she said, except for that one uncle who shows up every time and tells the same story over and over again.
“A fish story – the one that got away? No, but it might as well be. It’s a great story about how he met his wife right after he left the Navy and got lost in New York.
“The new people who just married into the family? They love it,” she said. “But the rest of us have heard it so many times. We just tune out. You can see people trying to sneak away without hurting his feelings.”
I remembered Anita when I listened to a webinar last week. The host began with a story. “I left corporate life after too many nights away from home. I wanted more time with my family. So I started a business. A couple of years later, I hit a wall. I spent more time on my business than I’d ever dedicated to my corporate job. I was doing everything … marketing, meeting with clients, accounting, social media. Something had to give. So I came up with a solution…”
Does this story sound familiar? The solution might be “webinars,” “outsourcing,” or “deciding to take every Friday off.”
It’s about business, but it’s really a tired old fish story.
The first time you hear this story, you resonate. You’re curious about the solution the storyteller found.
The second time, you might admire the way the storyteller shares her experience.
The third time? Personally, I tune out. My first thought is, “Who told her to share that story?”
The truth is, people who have been around the Internet know all the stories. They won’t be inspired by advice like, “You’re not selling – you’re inviting.” Or, “The more you describe your struggles, the more the audience will like you.” You wince at questions that begin, “What would your life be like…”
These approaches all work beautifully when you’re targeting beginners.
When your audience includes more seasoned prospects, you need to lose all the fish stories.
Instead, you can…
… create more aha moments in your content. Get your audience to say, “I’ve never thought of it that way before.”
… use templates that help you structure ideas, not templates that furnish you with words or stories. A template for an email might suggest a headline that’s completely inappropriate for your audience and/or your archetype.
My templates for my About Page course help you structure the different parts of your page. [Use code ABOUT50 to take 50% off the published price.]
… keep updating your story portfolio.
Take notes from your email inbox. What stories work? Which ones make you cringe (“I can’t believe a grownup said that”). Why do you think a story worked (or didn’t work) for that particular person?
Pay special stories that seem unrelated to business. Can they be used to illustrate your key points?
What lessons do you learn as you go about your day? Do they evolve from stories you can share?
No more tired old fish stories. You don’t need them.