In case you missed it, here’s a look at Cathy’s most recent Knoxville News-Sentinel column from Sunday, April 1:
Stop the Power Point presentations and voluminous slide decks. What better place to take a little nap than in still another tedious meeting where someone is droning on with a never-ending presentation full of charts and graphs?
We recently won a new business pitch in New York by being the “anti-presentation folks from the South,” as our new client now calls us. Instead of coming in with a predictable slide presentation showing how wonderful we are and touting stats about our “proven results,” we decided to simply (and very personally) tell our company story.
So what does that mean – “tell our story?” Basically, it means describing our firm and our services and people within an engaging, multidimensional context. It means bringing our team to life by relaying anecdotal examples that not only tell what we do and how we do it, but also provide glimpses into who we are as people and what is important to us.
Not all clients/customers are good matches for your company, and this approach fosters informed decisions which allow both sides to determine if the relationship will be a compatible, energy-filled one, or not. Effective corporate story-telling allows your audience to understand what drives you. It provides nuanced information about you that goes beyond all of the “brag book” stuff.
Story-telling – when done right – is insightful and memorable. It provides a much brighter glimpse at your corporate personality than an information overload does. It uses facial expressions, eye contact, voice intonations and gestures to provide a more complete picture of who your company is and what you value.
I’ve said in previous columns on more than one occasion that people do business with people, not with faceless organizations. Effective story-telling personalizes what you do and allows human connection to happen faster.
The catch for some people is sometimes a fear of getting too personal, and of course, there is a point at which story-telling in a business setting can cross over this line, resulting in an uncomfortable situation. There also is a chance that your stories can seem self-indulgent, so it is important to put your stories within a context of what would be interesting to your audience (not just to you).
But done right, corporate story-telling can build trust, compel people to act and convey infectious excitement. It can indeed be a very powerful tool in your marketing toolbox if approached with authenticity, candor and practice. Don’t make it too complicated or too much about you, and always stay on point in terms of tailoring your stories to the specific situation you are in.
Shed the dry facts and charts and give your customers and prospects a true window to your company’s heart and soul. It works.