Tell me a story.
You may not think story telling and business have a lot in common until you talk to Joe Raasch.
This master story teller and senior organizational development consultant at Carlson, owner of Radisson Hotels & Resorts and T.G.I.Friday’s ® among numerous other hospitality brands, figured out that story telling is just the ticket business people need to stand out from the crowd.
By story telling I’m not talking about weaving fiction but succinctly presenting your information in the simple arc of a story with a beginning, middle and end. “The reason this works is that you’re turning a hodgepodge of data into information,” says Raasch.
Don’t worry that you need the writing talents of an Ernest Hemmingway to make this effective. You just need to put on your storyteller hat and pretend you’re talking to a friend.
It all started for Raasch when he realized that some of the managers at Carlson weren’t getting the information they needed. They were either inundated with too much data or not getting enough. To get their teams to appropriately manage up, Raasch got them thinking in terms of mission statements and stories. For example, Carlson’s computer service folks realized that their mission could be summarized in just one word, “up.” It then became easy for them to tell their story around the concept of “up.” That meant communicating things like “How many outages are there in the system?” “How long was it down?” “What are upcoming planned outages?” “How are those outages being communicated?” All centered around the idea of keeping the system…I bet you can complete the sentence…up.
All of which can be a great way of thinking about your personal brand. Another way to get your arms around this is to reframe it as a problem, solution and results. Here is a particular problem, this is what you did to solve it and as a result a company saved X amount of money or time or made X amount more money. You can fill in the blanks.
So stop thinking about how you did this job or that piece of work. Instead start presenting your accomplishments as a story and see how much more interest you generate. How do you present your personal brand in terms of a story? I’d love to hear from you.
Wendy Marx, PR and Marketing Communications, Marx Communications, Inc.