How to Tell Your Story (and Why It Matters)

WhoAreYouA podcast I listen to regularly always begins with the host asking his guests, “How did you end up doing what you do?”  This guy interviews a variety of experts including economists, horticulturists, former FBI agents, nutritionists – even falconers!  I have yet to hear one of them say, “Yep, even as I small child I knew this was my destiny.”

Instead, they tell their stories – the unexpected twists and turns and paths of discovery that lead them into their current profession.  Their experiences and backgrounds are so interesting and add both depth and color to the expertise they share on the show.

So what is your story?  Did you grow up thinking, “I want to be a _______.”  Probably not.  So how in the world did you end up here?  Chances are it was a winding road, and you probably even learned some things along the way.

When telling your story you don’t need to share all of your personal details; the goal here is to be relatable.  People want to do business with another person, not a machine.  And when people know your story, their level of engagement with you starts to move beyond just your products and service – they start to buy into your business, and that is a paradigm shift.

Some of my clients have had difficulty figuring out how to tell their story, so the following is a list of questions to help you think through you unique experiences and how they have lead you into a business that matters to you and can make a difference for your customers.

  • What is your background?
  • Where are you from?
  • How/when did you get your start?
  • Is yours a family business with a rich history?
  • How has your business grown over the years?
  • What do you enjoy most about your work?
  • What do you want to help your customers accomplish?
  • What other types of work have you done?
  • Outside of your business, what else do you enjoy?
  • What is most important to you?

It’s advisable to answer these questions for yourself (with fierce honesty!) before you craft a message for the public. Sometimes we get so busy with our day-to-day operations that we can lose sight of why we’re even doing this at all, and taking the time to reflect on your history and background can help you reconnect with your reasons for going into business to begin with.

Then, make yourself “real” by letting your customers know who you are and what you’re all about.

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