Where To Find Story Ideas
Jan 25, 2021
"What if I don't have a story?"
Yesterday I was on IGTV with my business bestie, Mindi Huebner, talking about storytelling and selling, and she asked, "What about people who don't think they have a story?"
Here's the answer. Almost anything can be a story. It's just about drawing the right conclusions from it.
When it comes to storytelling and marketing, I actually have two lists running in my brain all day. One list is where I collect interesting stories. They can be major events, like that time I gave birth to my son, or minor events, like the woman I noticed at the grocery store the other day. She was spritzing herself with some kind of spray. When she was done, she put the lid back on, put the product back on the shelf, and simply walked away!
The other list is about the topics that I think would interest my audience, like how to tell a good story, how to decide which stories to tell, etc.
The magic happens when these two lists come together, and I can think of how I can draw a lesson out of a story to apply it to a topic.
While Mindi and I were on IGTV, I told a story about how I won a pool competition.
Here's how it goes. One night in Melbourne I was in a pub and there was a pool competition on and I thought I'd enter - just for fun. I wasn't an amazing player but my friend had taught me to play to win so I wasn't bad either.
Well, the first game I played I started winning, and the guy I was playing got annoyed. He didn't say anything but it was really clear that he didn't like the way things were going. Was it because I'm a girl? Very likely, but who knows?
Anyway, his bad attitude fired me up, and I put all my energy into winning that game. The same exact thing happened in the next two games, and suddenly I found myself in the final.
I didn't know the other finalist but she was part of the group I was at the pub with so I knew of her. She was a great player and, with the angry male energy gone, I kind of lost my competitive drive.
But I'd come that far, and by then I really wanted to win. So while the pub regulars got excited about the "first-ever all-female final", I kept my adrenalin high, and won the competition.
What's my favourite thing about this story?
It's not the half a slab (*that's Australian for case of beer) that I won and promptly donated to someone else because I don't drink beer.
I won't lie. Winning against the cranky men made the victory pretty sweet. But what made the victory really meaningful for me was the TRANSFORMATION. Before it happened I had NO IDEA I was someone who could win a pool competition.
In fact the story I was telling myself before this was that I was just not good at sports. (Not that pool is super athletic, but...)
I always wanted to be good at sports. In grade school I asked a teacher if I could join the (all-male) cricket team, and he said I couldn't because I wore a skirt. WTF?
I didn't push the issue, probably because I wasn't actually good at cricket. Although nobody else on the team needed anything other than a certain anatomical part to be allowed to join.
See how the story becomes more meaningful when I add in a part about experiencing sexism as a child?
And look how similar the story is to a really old story - David and Goliath.
The story of the underdog hero goes way back in human history and we still use it all the time today.
So, how can you use stories like this in your marketing?
If you have gotten results for yourself and/or someone else in your business, it's likely that you have a story about someone who did not think they could do something. About someone who transformed into a different person as they realised they could actually lose weight or hit 10K months working freelance or created the socially-impactful business of their dreams.
Humans LOVE stories. We are hard-wired to see patterns and narratives everywhere.
So, if you're looking to make more sales in your business, you can use stories to sell people on the transformation.
Want some help with that?
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