The power and pitfalls of story-telling
For business owners, sharing your story and being more visible online is more imperative today than ever before. Getrude Matshe explains the power and pitfalls of story-telling. Oral story-telling has always been the way that human beings have communicated. Wisdom and skills are passed down through stories. Having immigrated from Africa in 2001 I have embraced […]
For business owners, sharing your story and being more visible online is more imperative today than ever before. Getrude Matshe explains the power and pitfalls of story-telling.
Oral story-telling has always been the way that human beings have communicated. Wisdom and skills are passed down through stories. Having immigrated from Africa in 2001 I have embraced the Ubuntu philosophy into my work and message. Ubuntu articulates the condition of being human. Literally translated from Zulu maxim “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”, it means a person is a person through other people. What better way to share, learn and inspire than through story-telling.
As business owners, now more than ever sharing our story and being visible online is imperative. Because so many people are online you can amplify your message if you really know how to communicate the story.
Here are some pitfalls to be wary of around visibility and story-telling.
Some pitfalls for sharing your story
- Overly academic:
One of the biggest pitfalls is that most people speak from a very academic standpoint. They can speak and articulate perfectly but fail to have an authentic connection with their audience. They sound good but they leave you feeling cold.
Having studied with the Heart Math Institute and through my experience coaching hundreds of women to share on a deeper level, I have learned how to use the power of the heart when story-telling.
- Too much front:
Another mistake is that people ‘front’ and they look good on the surface but you don’t get a sense of who is the person behind the mask. Learning to be vulnerable can become your greatest strength. The show of emotion is the language of humans. When you can get someone to feel what you feel and experience what you’re experiencing then you are communicating effectively.
- Forgetting to tell your story:
If you’re an entrepreneur but you’re so focused on what you’re selling that you forget to tell the story of how you got started. Right now marketing is story-telling. The compelling products and services that are out there. It’s all the stories that have been woven around them that makes them sell.
People are curious about the backstory to the business as well as your journey. The how and why you got started as well as the wins. It helps them make a decision as to whether they want to work with you or buy from you because it helps them to connect.
How can people and businesses get better at communicating their story?
- Sharing it in multiple places:
When you have and hone your story you can repurpose it in a number of ways.
With HerStory I intentionally repurposed the content into different modes to add leverage as well as to reflect the fact that different people prefer to consume content in different ways. The speakers’ stories can be curated into books and into magazines. In addition to adding value we can also add impact as the funds go into seed funds for projects to help women, children, elderly, disabled and the homeless.
When you share the stories online you create a digital footprint and exponentially expand your visibility. With social media, now you must be strategic with how you are creating your own content and optimise your videos and photographs so that you can be found. It’s in learning how to do that where the power really lies.
- Sharing it in multiple modes:
Story telling does not have to be limited to speaking, you may have a blog or be interviewed on a podcast or radio or present at an online conference. In the HerStory summit that I run multiple times a year, I intentionally create some spaces for creative people, a story can be told in the form of dance, singing or performance. There’s no limit to how you can express a story whether it be story-telling with visuals or video or speaking.
Be creative as a business about how you can share your story to raise your visibility and truly get the message across.
- Fuse together authenticity and vulnerability.
Share what is appropriate to your business and your audience/customers. With HerStory Circle it’s not purely business oriented women sharing some of the most challenging times of their lives but with the intention of empowering and uplifting others. I teach them how to tell sad and painful stories but from a powerful space. We don’t shy away from topics, domestic violence, sexual abuse, but focus on how women can transfer their pain into power.
Everything is story-telling – marketing your product, the story behind why you do what you do. When you hear someones’ story told well, you connect deeper. This creates a community. -And with community you can create a surge of exponential impact. With the HerStory Circle we are a group of social impact entrepreneurs who are trying to make money for ourselves, our families, our businesses and at the same time give back. So get clear on what your story is and tell it well. Do justice to your journey and the intention of your business and in doing so you too will be able to change the world for good.
Getrude Matshe (pictured above) is the Founder and Global Curator for HerStory Circle, International guest speaker, 3x TED speaker, Podcaster, Author, Philanthropy consultant, Diversity and Empathy Consultant. Her speaking career started in Norway 1989 and for 12 years she has worked in the IT industry as a Systems Analyst, Systems Support Manager and Project Manager. Getrude immigrated to New Zealand in 2001 with nothing and founded four successful companies.
You can learn more about Getrude and apply to speak or attend Her Story Circle events here: https://herstorycircle.com/
Watch the TEDx Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzIyOtusDxE