“Your ability to shape your future depends on how well you communicate where you want to be when you get there. When ideas are communicated effectively, people follow and change.”
— Nancy Duarte
“People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don’t have a middle or an end any more. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning.”
— Steven Spielberg
If you are an entrepreneur like me who wants to stay “connected” while still balancing humanity and technology in the Digital Age, then you will agree with this observation I made in my latest article for The Huffington Post:
Information is truly the currency of the Digital Age, where people partake of constantly shifting streams and power hubs and entrepreneurial opportunities to broker this power along the pipeline. All you need is a WiFi connection, some time on your hands, and a desire to learn. Oh yeah, don’t forget to polish your consulting chops and create and launch a product/service that renders someone else’s service/product obsolete. Or solves a major pain point collectively felt in our increasingly transparent and globally connected society.
Upon further reflection on the changing landscape of entrepreneurship, which I wrote about in both my new LinkedIn and Tumblr post, I realized I omitted this truth.
Today’s entrepreneur needs to hone one more thing: good storytelling skills.
Every entrepreneur has a story worth telling, worth listening to. I share some of mine in this video. I write about storytelling’s power and impact in my book, The NICE Reboot, and have previously blogged about this topic as well.
I even suggest these relevant books to others I meet when I attend entrepreneurship/networking/leadership events:
• Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath (discussed in my book)
• Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull (which I blogged about recently in my latest series here)
• Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
• Power vs. Perception: Ten Characteristics of Self-Empowerment for Women by Mary Anne Kochut (see my Amazon review)
• Empowered Women of Social Media: 44 Women Found Their Voices Using The Power of Social Networking by KL Taylor and Carla Hall et al (see my Amazon review)
Storytelling helps us parse, chunk, convey, and learn information better. About each other. About ourselves. About the product/service we are trying to launch. Good storytelling enhances our social leadership and creativity skills; two areas entrepreneurs need to be mindful of in the iEra. A time where art and technology are coming together in surprising and positive ways. A time where the proverbial pitch has been elevated to an art form, potentially seen by countless people.
Thanks the ease and speed of visual global communication via video sites like Vimeo showcasing creative masterpieces, and people who wield influence on social media and TV shows like Shark Tank, everyone is getting in on the Story. Even Jimmy Kimmel, who’s appearing in this week’s episode! Even the corporate arena, where compelling stories can impact a brand’s likability.
Today’s startup culture is growing and demanding a different kind of entrepreneur. One whose personal brand conveys a promise. A promise to create experiences and make a difference while selling products/services and sustaining relationships with clients/consumers.
Before every pitch, every endeavor, every social media post, and every story I tell in real time, or at a live event, I ask myself this:
How can I imbue this sound byte with authenticity and meaning?
Who helps me stay on course? Believe it or not, children! I’ve worked with children for years and am still amazed and pleasantly surprised by they content of their speech. By their ability to authentically and creatively convey bold ideas, emotional resonance, poignancy, humor, and lessons in their daily conversations.
Aren’t these the very elements of great storytelling?