Everyone wants to communicate.
We all have a message we’re trying to send to the rest of the world — especially to those who may benefit from our products or services. At the same time, everyone wants to sound professional. We all want to sound like we know what we’re doing and we know our business. After all, would you ever trust a doctor who said, “In my professional opinion, I would prescribe a thingamajig for your whatchamacallit.”?
But all too often we go to the extreme with our “professional lingo.” We try so hard to sound professional that we wind up confusing the message. Bottom line, net-net, you don’t have to die on the hill if your back-of-the-envelope writing becomes a real pain point with potentialized future assets.
Instead of trying to shoehorn as much business lingo into your written communications as you can, try this: Tell a story.
Tell your story.
Before you run off to grab a quill and some parchment, let’s first talk about what makes a story a story. You might be familiar with one of the simpler descriptions of a story:
You get your hero up a tree.
You throw rocks at your hero.
You get your hero out of the tree.
We prefer an even simpler definition: A story is a quest. Somebody wants something and they’re on a quest to get it. But with all great stories, you’ll find that the hero is besieged by obstacles at every turn. In Moby Dick, Captain Ahab doesn’t just drop a line in the water and wait for the whale to take a bite. He has to search, he has to fight against the elements, he has to struggle to the very end to take revenge on the whale who took his leg. Does he win? Does he lose? That’s why we keep reading. To find out how it ends.
Even if you sell fishing equipment we understand you’re not telling the story of “Moby Dick.” But that doesn’t mean you’re not on a quest. Nor does it mean your quest is any less urgent or important than Ahab’s. When telling your story, define your quest.
To clean every last inch of grout on earth!
To simplify the home buying process!
To help people catch more fish!
Now let’s talk about casting. Who plays which part? This one’s easy: You (your business, service, or product) are the hero. Your potential consumers are the villagers being attacked by the fire-breathing dragon. And this fire-breathing dragon provides the obstacles.
In real life, however, these obstacles come in the form of consumer doubts and fears.
Does it work on tough stains?
Is it expensive?
Is it all natural, free range, open sourced, completely organic, and so on?
Of course, like the author of any good story, you know the answers to all of these questions. And you should know the answers to all of the questions that pop up as you and your audience continue on your journey.
How does the quest end? With the sale of course. If you tell a compelling story, your audience will stick with you to the very end, the happiest of endings, the sale.
So that’s how you communicate your business to the world. But there’s more to it than this. There’s a backstory, there’s a voice and a tone, there’s even a setting. How does it all work? I’m glad you asked. It all works like this…