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  • Heather Mistretta

Digging Deep: To be or not to be a storyteller

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

We’re all getting brow-beaten lately on how crucial it is to tell your story—and yes, I must admit at times I’m part of that onslaught. The rush is so much so that it has almost diminished its significance to a vapid triteness.

But listen up to anyone reading this, it’s still important. But how you tell your story is also just as important.

A story with no meaning is just that. An empty, cavernous hole of nothing. Make sure while unraveling your story you create meaning. Help your reader relate to something that resonates with their own story, making sure to infuse your emotions and feelings along the way—aka, remember you’re human and not just a business!

A two-dimensional story lacking depth that only focuses on the chronology of a story will fall flat and seem somewhat sterile to your reader. As a result, the reader might likely keep on moving to the next potential business.

Instead, focus on what motivates you, what drives you and the conflict that may ensue sometimes. It’s all about connection—something every reader needs…provided they are human.

I’m not saying you need to tell a Game of Thrones-ish story, but feel free to mimic the way in which it is told. Clearly, that has worked in garnering a ridiculous amount of attention.

Humans want to know what happens next and are easily lured into going along for the ride to find out. That’s why hooks, teasers, movie trailers, weekly sitcoms…and even soap operas for some--are so enticing and why they work.

As you unravel your story, also remember to tie in why it’s relevant, how it relates to something else. You can’t assume your reader will know. But you also can’t assume your reader knows nothing. As I’ve said many times before, remember to define and then refine your audience. That way, you will likely have a pretty good idea as to what they know.

Insert disclaimer here!

While you’re enjoying telling your own story, don’t forget to listen to theirs too. Everyone’s story is important, and the more you respect their story, the more likely you are to secure a new client.

As I approach a new assignment, I tell my clients yes, I’m here to help you, help you transform your content. But first and foremost, before I can do that, I’m your student. I’m your sounding board. I’m here to soak up as much knowledge as I can. I’m not here to tell you what you need before I even find out what you’re hoping to achieve and what motivates you to do what you do. And only you know your story first-hand. I’m here to unearth your voice and then tell your story so it’s authentic, raw and engaging.

The one size fits all approach doesn’t work. So, I listen first. I channel my early journalist days at Reuters, and ask the 5 Ws—who, what, where, when and why—and then devise a customized strategy that enhances.

Throw in a visual like a short five-minute video, and chances are you’ll be golden!

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