Are you talking to or sharing with people?

I recently attended an industry seminar in Nashville, TN for small marketing & creative firms. One of the speakers was the founder of a Canada-based strategic storytelling firm. I’m not kidding. Some guy is making a lot of money helping organizations uncover, understand and craft their stories. What he had to say made a lot of sense. Storytelling is an authentic exchange of meaning – for a purpose – from one person to another. You often hear people talk about having an “elevator” speech. It’s saying who you are and what you do … really fast. This guy said “Forget the elevator speech. Have a sermon.” He gave an example: Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech. I encourage you to spend the 17 minutes watching the full speech, or at least a 1-minute excerpt. It’s not only an important part of America’s history, it’s an amazingly engaging, remarkably powerful, indelibly purposeful “story.” Think about its relevance and inspiration when delivered in 1963.

We work with several heritage organizations that place a very deliberate focus on crafting their story so that they can interpret – and make it relevant – for visitors. Why shouldn’t other industries do the same?

How well do you tell your story in your organization’s vision, mission and values? Is it real and relevant or is it full of corporate cliches? If you’re a leader and engaging your team, are you human, vulnerable, spirited, truthful and trustworthy? Are you talking to them or sharing with them? Let me ask again, how well do you tell your story? I know I need to work on mine.