Stories take time, period.
Years ago, I created something called the Storyteller’s Promise.
It goes like this:
As a storyteller I promise to inspire, entertain, engage, and inform you if you are willing to give me your most valuable and non-renewable asset—your TIME.
Always remember that TIME is the most valuable gift an audience can give you.
Sarah Jessica Parker made a statement on The Howard Stern Show in 2016 that caught my attention while I was listening. She basically said she always does her best to create a show deserving of the viewers’ thirty minutes.
That is a great way to think about your story too. Make your story worth the time people are investing. Be sure to make the “Storyteller’s Promise” as you create and share your content.
Make it great, powerful and engaging.
Always remember that for anyone to truly engage in your story, they have to give you part of their mortality. It really raises that stakes doesn’t it?
Is your content worth part of their life? Make sure you make them feel that it is. Show your passion and why you are excited to share.
Remember that, and I promise you that your stories and presentations will get better.
One way to fail at the Storyteller’s Promise is to use the word sell. This is a very dangerous word. There’s nothing more inauthentic than selling to someone.
Imagine walking up to someone and saying, “Hey, I have something I want to sell you.” Think about their reaction. Think about your reaction if the roles were reversed. Just mentioning the word “sell” can bring about thoughts of
We sure love all those “toll-free” calls we get at 8:30 pm from strangers, don’t we? Your brain immediately fights back. No one wants to feel sold to!
Now, I understand that you’re a business and need to sell things to make money. You may even think you need to sell your story. But sales are an outcome—they shouldn’t be the means. How, exactly? It’s simple.
Just change the first letter of “sell” to a “t.”
Don’t sell your story—tell your story.
Remember, your kids don’t come up to you at night and ask, “Can you pretty please SELL me a bedtime story?” They want you to tell them a great story. They know all too well when it is a “sell” (like when you pick the smaller book or skip sections to speed it up!). A child doesn’t want to be “sold” to any more than an adult.
Tell the story you love. Show me the passion you have. If you love your story—if you have passion for it, believe in it—then tell it and let it sell itself.
The best stories are told, never sold. If people believe that you really love your story, that you love your content, then giving up that precious time we just discussed becomes a lot easier.
They still may not buy, but at least they’re engaged—and, in a world of unhelpful noise, that’s half of the battle.