If your company or small business or you as author or speaker wants to understand the hoopla about stories, and why you need them, let’s look to the flames.
The fires are burning again in my beloved California. Our disasters can seem like same fire, different day. So can your business and creative endeavors.
The State of California is in a State of Emergency, determined by statistics that are harder to fathom and hold your attention than the last State of Emergency. But what does 35,000 acres, 6700 structures, 24 dead 250,000 evacuated, hundreds missing even mean without a story?
And then there’s the story of celebrities. And the towns they live in that are burning and in danger like Malibu and Calabasas. Hidden Hills and Thousand Oaks,
“I just had to evacuate my home from the fires. I took my kids, dogs, computer and my Doc Marten boots. (Husband is in NY. Horses are being evacuated by my trainer.),” tweeted Alyssa Milano.
Immediately I see the telling detail—those Doc Martens. I picture them if they were left behind, imagining melting one lace at a time. I didn’t know anything about Alyssa Milano before, but now whenever I hear her name or think of the Calabassas fire, I’ll remember those boots. For me, that story stopped time.
“We’re forced to evacuate from our home today,” tweeted celebrity, Linden Ashby. “Were safe. All the rest is just stuff. Shit got real pretty quick.”
Oh, yes it does. When numbers and stats and features and products and services get human. It gets really real. When we remember we are not only hard-wired to tell stories. But as storytellers, we have the power to stop time.
To take someone out of the bog of overwhelm of thoughts and bring them into their present moment. They see themselves and you now, anew.
So, what’s the significance of our stories?
I like the report Andrew Phillips mentions about a reporter who put objects on eBay as research. He bought 129 items for 99¢ a piece and put the first up to sell without any story. He asked 99¢ for it. It didn’t budge. Then he re-posted the same object with a story about the object. That same object sold for $62.95. A hundred and twenty nine objects each with an added story, asking price of 99¢ brought a revenue of $8,000.
You may not get or need a trillion followers for Kim Kardashian impact and you don’t need to have a story as a dramatic as a fire. Please God, no.
Your job as a storyteller — anyone who’s in business — is to stop time.
You’ve got the stories to do more than just stand out.
You need them to survive. And so do we.
If you want help getting there, here I am.
Thank you for reading!