The May NAWBO-SV event was about storytelling. We all know how important storytelling is to build a connection with your clients and potential customers. We hear it over and over again from marketing experts. But the biggest roadblock for many of us is that we don’t’ think we have a story to tell that is compelling or will resonate with our target audience.

Our presenter, Stephanie Nivinskus, CEO, Sizzle Force Marketing, has spent most of her life storytelling — first as a journalist and then as a marketer. She told us that everyone has a story that can be developed and showed us the impact they can have. She offered two storyline strategies as samples: 2×4 Style and the Startup Story.

The “2×4 Style” is coined from the concept of a more dramatic, “hit them over the head with a 2×4” storyline that consists of 1) identifying the messy situation or issue; 2) identifying what is standing in the way of a resolution; 3) creating a hero that is going to champion the quest; and 4) stating the lesson that the hero learned through the process. It draws the listener through the story to a climax where the hero is triumphant. This could be a story about a client or project you had, or a challenge that you overcame in your business.

The Startup Story is more focused on telling your own personal journey of how and why you started your business. Many business owners have a good story for why they started their business — they are passionate about something, they had a personal tragedy, challenge or life event that sparked their entrepreneurial path. Many of these types of stories are inspirational and motivating.

There are many other types of storylines, but Stephanie stated that no matter what the story, four key elements to focus on are:

  1. Make your audience picture the story
  2. Dramatize the problem
  3. Introduce your own personality
  4. Somehow acknowledge your customers within the story