Presentability with organisational success expert Phil Preston last week it struck me how vital your story is.
We had a room full of willing participants wanting to overcome anxiety to sell their stories.
The room was full of many organisations, some of them nonprofit, and it's always a healthy challenge to support people in selling the benefits of helping others. Especially when they're selling to corporations who (understandably) are looking for returns on their investment.
As we worked on people's presentations it yet again reminded me that all marketing (whether from a laptop, a phone, over coffee or the net, in a blog, a tweet, comment, boardroom or from a stage) is telling stories.
The more authentic. credible and beneficial for the market, the greater our chance of a sale.
This came to light when one of the participants - an elegant, sophisticated woman named Laura- told us about her journey on the back of a motorbike to a village in a third world country to help people rebuild their home brick by brick. The minute Laura hit this point in the story, we could see the bike with the sophisticated rider out of her comfort zone, a humble village and a hopeful family with their first brick for their new home.
The better this story is told, the more likely it is for a group of sponsors at a dinner to dip into their pockets, angel investors to back your enterprise or employees to invest in your targets.
The minute we get a window into :Laura's world we're captivated by her commitment. It no longer becomes a story of need (too easy to dismiss I'm afraid), but a story of fascination for the listeners. All the ingredients of this were in Laura's story by the way. We simply increased the impact of what Laura was saying to give her authenticity to her target audience.
Often we just need feedback to help us locate an arresting opening image to transport the audience into the heart of the story.
The private becomes public, and we instantly relate to Laura. Just like the heroine in any good story, we have a fascinating character we can identify with who takes us into an extraordinary world, and deeper into an experience which will give her a hook to achieve her presentation's goal.
That's what we buy. Your and your story. It's that easy, and that challenging.