Last year, my partner and I attended Burning Man for the first time. Burning Man takes place literally out in the middle of nowhere in the northern Nevada desert. It’s windy. It’s dusty. It’s wild.
The day we arrived, there was a horrific dust storm closely followed by rain and I was ready to leave right then. I was wondering what in the world ever got into us that we would put ourselves through this.
Then, as the week went on, I began to enjoy it more and more. But by the time it was over, after having spent a week being sweaty and dusty, I was fine to just say, “Been there, done that, no need to do it again.”
But as time wore on and as we shared our Burning Man experiences with other people I began to want to go back; to experience the parts I had missed and to be there in a more receptive frame of mind.
So we bought tickets again for this year.
Since coming back west, we’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with some of the people who shared our camp last year and as we each shared our pictures, and videos, and started telling stories to each other about our individual experiences, we all seemed to forget just how bad it all was, what with the dust and all, and found ourselves getting more and more excited about it, and now we all find ourselves eagerly awaiting the time to go back.
When you tell a story over and over again, it takes on a life of its own.
That got me to thinking about how so many people tell me just how much they hate to talk about themselves and their business. Even when somebody asks. For instance, we’re all told over and over again that we need to memorize an elevator speech that we can rattle off any time someone asks us about our business, but have you ever actually tried doing that?
Someone asks about what you do and you think about that elevator speech and how canned it sounds and you think you’re really going to sound stupid when you start saying it, so you begin to stammer and say “uh, uh” a lot, and then you just give up and give them your job title. You know, “Oh, I’m an accountant” or “Oh, I’m a life coach.”
The next time someone asks you what you do, you have my permission to tell them a story instead, and then just watch. They’ll be more interested in what you’re saying, and YOU’LL be more interested in what you’re saying. And the more you tell your story, the more excited you’ll get about it, and then you’ll be eager to tell it to more and more people.
And then — and this is the really cool part — you’ll find that you’re more excited about your business. You’ll be excited about the possibilities and you’ll be excited about how many people you can help. And your excitement will excite other people and then, well, it just goes on and on from there. Much like the excitement I’m feeling right now about going back to Burning Man.
So the next time someone asks you what you do, tell ’em a story about it. You can start with something like, “You know how people tend to…” Then tell them what the clients you serve tend to do.
A parent coach might say, “You know how parents of teenagers tend to…”
A chiropractor might say, “You know how people tend to think of chiropractic only as…”
A life coach might say, “You know how empty nesters tend to…”
See how easy it is to start a story? Now you just need to start (and finish) your own story. And stick with it. The next time someone asks what you do, you’ll be ready to tell them with your story. And a story is a lot more fun than a boring old elevator speech.
And by the way, if you’re going to Burning Man, too, let’s get together while we’re there.
© Copyright 2011 Marty Marsh