The Power of Telling Stories in Business

storytelling, freedigitalphotosdotnet, ID-10030651

In their project, Significant Objects, Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker undertook an experiment. They bought scores of trinkets for about $1.25 each and hired writers to invent a story that attributed significance to them. The items were listed on eBay with a starting price of what they paid for them. In the end, they made $3,612.51 on $128.74 worth of merchandise.

Stories matter. Compelling stories can make even the most innocuous objects come alive. They did it for the Significant Objects project, and they can do it for you and your business.

Every business owner has a story to share – one that captures attention and moves people to action. But there’s a lot of business storytelling going on. If you want your story to cut through the clutter, here are some suggestions.

  • Share how you overcame an obstacle. Every business owner has a personal experience about the greatest challenge she faced and how she struggled to overcome it. Think back to your toughest business obstacle (Riding out the Great Recession? Getting funding for your startup? A bad review?), and capture it in words.
  • Think emotion. Stories that bring a tear, nod or laugh will capture attention and enable people to connect with your brand on a deeper level. What was it like when you lost a big account or couldn’t get funding to expand? Describe the sleepless nights and the gut-wrenching fear, and make your audience feel they know you even if you’ve never met.
  • Consider telling your customer’s story as well. What better way to connect with your audience than to share how you helped solve a customer’s problem? Strengthen the relationship with your customer as you share their story in a way that evokes empathy and emotion.
  • Use strong visuals. You’ve heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Photos, graphics, video and infographics are the ‘pictures’ that will enhance the power of stories you share.
  • Deliver a powerful resolution. The best stories shine a light on a goal or resolution that your audience can relate to. Explain your resolution in a way that moves your audience and compels them to take action.

Good stories build authority and credibility. They give your audience a glimpse into your business while serving as a powerful testimonial for your success. They can help you win prestigious business awards and gain valuable publicity. And they just may lead you to the beginning of a wonderful, new business relationship.

Image courtesy of nuchylee via


About Chris Ruys

Chris Ruys is founder and president of Chris Ruys Communications, Inc., a marketing/public relations firm that specializes in high visibility campaigns using both traditional and social media strategies. Her blog, originally called "Getting Social," was launched in October 2010 as a way to share her progress as a "student" of social media. While she's still learning, Ms. Ruys has broadened the scope to include other aspects of marketing communications and PR, including blogging, email, traditional media and advertising in the blog she now calls "Proactive PR."