I hate to be a party pooper!
You know me; I don’t usually focus on the negative.
But here’s the thing, I hear a lot of attempts at storytelling that simply don’t work. You know what it’s like, a person starts talking and at first it’s kind of interesting but pretty quickly you notice your mind wandering and you’re quietly planning your exit. You look at your watch and say, “oh my goodness; is that the time already?” Or you suddenly invent the person you absolutely have to speak to who told you they were just leaving. Or you excuse yourself with some other lame (or not so lame!) excuse – anything to get away.
Alternatively, if it’s on line, you simply stop the video, exit out of the screen, continue surfing, or go back to Facebook. If it’s in Facebook, you check your groups, or your page ‘likes’, whatever, just get the hell away from this person who, in truth (and I know this sounds harsh…) doesn’t deserve your attention.
It’s true you need to make sure that you deserve the attention you are asking for. You see, people are busy and they have a lot of distractions. They don’t have time to listen to stuff that doesn’t give them value. They don’t have time to read stuff that doesn’t resonate.
(And by the way, thank you SOO Much for still being here and reading this, I seriously value every second that you so generously give this your attention!)
So, here we go. I want to help you avoid losing heart and losing clients by doing these dreaded things – the top 3 storytelling mistakes that dull your message and dampen or even destroy your prospects.
1. Going on and on and on and on……
Sounds ridiculous by you’d be amazed by how many people don’t know when to simply stop. There is such value in brevity. Tell your story but make it simple, focused and clear. My father used to say, ‘you shouldn’t flog a dead horse’; sorry, that sounds terrible (I hope I haven’t offended anyone, I swear I LOVE animals especially horses!!). But you know what I mean, say what you have to say and then SHUT UP. The story has to have an end and don’t drag it out. Believe me, the people who are dragging it out, they mostly just want to hear their own voice, they’re not so interested in connecting and actually listening to what other people think or how they respond, which, by the way, is the whole point of telling stories in the first place!
2. Having no power and no point……
Yeah, I know this is a bit of a dig at Powerpoint (I always call it power pointless, no power and no point!!!) but I mean this in relation to story. If you don’t have a clear intention, a clear motive for telling the story, THERE’S NO POINT. You need to figure out why you’re trying to tell it in the first place. It’s not supposed to serve you; to amuse you or be therapeutic for YOU. Why are you telling the story? What do you want to create? Who do you want to serve? Why does it matter? Once you can answer those questions, you’ll get the power (I got the power….do.…Do, Do…Do…sorry can’t say that without starting to dance!!!).
And last but not least…and in truth, not last but at least for now…
3. Being a little too much in love……
You may be saying, is there such a thing? Well, being a little too much in love with yourself, is a major turn off. It can’t just be all about you. I mean, of course the story is about you, but it has to have relevance and be appropriate for the person listening; you know, make it sound like it’s all about them. People only really want to hear the story that makes sense for them, that shares who you are in a way that is relevant; that is humble, open-hearted and truly serving them. It’s a little tricky; in fact, this could be the most difficult one. Often it’s all about intention. Share who you are and who you are not. Allow reality to come through; no one wants a rose-tinted version of life, be real.