The number one skill that can help you create an unforgettable personal brand is storytelling. If you want to make an impact on the lives of others, get more exposure for your brand, and experience what it is like to have people begging to work with you—this is for you.
Storytelling is the art of crafting a set of life experiences around a particular focus, intention, and desired outcome. It doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re impatient, you’re going to struggle with this. Just like entrepreneurship, learning how to craft your story takes time, research, testing, and failing.
Unless you have the financial funding or advertising dollars, social media is the fastest way to grow a personal brand at little to no cost. With the bonus of sharing your personal story, you can develop a deeper relationship with your audience, tribe, or community very quickly.
I began my storytelling exploration online in 2015 right after my heart transplant. I needed a full year to recover and allow my new heart to heal. I was housebound during this time—brainstorming ways to generate income after eight years of not working. Not wanting to rebuild the tech firm I had lost after my tragedy, I needed a new way to earn money from home. I decided to start with creating a personal brand—best move of my entrepreneurial journey.
The Power of Live Video Streaming
The fastest way for me to brand myself was live video streaming. At the time, the Periscope app had just launched. Although terrified of cameras, I fumbled my way onto the app. Soon after I started live streaming and connecting with people from all over the world.
I noticed most aspiring entrepreneurs were using it as a tool to claim authority and expertise in a niche. I attempted to do the same around a topic I thought would be interesting, but I didn’t get the results I needed. Knowing this, I decided to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing. I chose to share my story instead.
I shared my experiences and massive setbacks from the past eight years—since that near-fatal day in the emergency room. I shared it every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. I had no idea what I was doing.
The Results Were Phenomenal
Through trial and error, I tested to see how I could connect with my audience on a deeper level. I wanted them to fall in love with my heart and what I stood for in the world. After all, that is all I had to offer at the time. At the very least—if I could achieve this—I could inspire them to live an empowered life as I recovered.
Fast forward eighteen months and I have transferred my story on to other apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. I have built a branding strategy consulting business and am now scaling for massive growth. Various social media influencers have noticed my brand, and I’m starting to land podcast and media interviews to spread my message to a wider audience. The power of storytelling is real.
What If You Don’t Have A Story?
People always say to me, “But Cherie, I don’t have a powerful story like you.” I want to set the record straight. Holding on to this limiting belief is keeping you from your dreams. Everyone has a story. The only thing preventing you from having a story is not sharing it.
What makes a story powerful?
How you tell it.
Yes, I have an unusual story. But here’s the thing. A year and a half ago I had no idea how to tell my story. It used to take me hours! Obviously, not the best way to share—you’ll burn out, and your audience will be bored. There’s a process I went through to learn how to tell my story. It came with practice, creativity, and consistently showing up every day.
If I didn’t go through this process I am about to share with you, you would either be falling asleep, crying your eyes out, depressed, overwhelmed, or never wanting to be around me. Even worse, you’d be left wondering, “What if that happened to me?” Quite the opposite happens, and I’ve shared my story thousands of times the past eighteen months. My intention in sharing my story is not to instill fear, but rather inspire you into taking action in your life.
Learning the art of storytelling can transform your business and leadership to another level. It allows you to be a voice for others who can relate to what you share. Sharing your story helps build rapport and likeability. It also makes branding, marketing, and sales much easier.
Here is the process to master the art of storytelling.
1. Identify your story. What significant events have happened in your life? Take out a piece of paper. Create a timeline of events in order of occurrence. Start from your earliest childhood memories and end with where you are currently in your life. Remember, only record significant, transformational events or shifts in your life. Use this document as your storytelling blueprint.
2. Clarify how you will tell your story. Who is the audience with whom you are sharing your story? What are their needs, frustrations, and wants? What solutions do they need that you can provide? What significant events—from your storytelling blueprint—will get your audience’s attention. Ask yourself why those parts of your story will appeal to this particular audience. The goal is to share only the relevant parts of your journey that relate to the market.
3. Narrow down the core message of your story. Based on your audience’s needs, wants, frustrations, and aspirations, what overall lesson do you want them to learn? Identify in what ways you can help them see what is possible for their life. See how your story ties into this learning. Look to see what parts you need to share or leave out. The more you can focus on your core message, the easier it will be to keep your story relevant to your audience.
4. Set the intention for sharing your story. What result do you hope your story gets? Do you want people to buy your product—leading them to a particular solution? Maybe you want more speaking gigs or interviews. You must have an intention so you can identify how you will inspire people to take action.
5. Inspire your audience to take action. Memorable storytellers can motivate their audience into inspired and empowered action. You must tell people exactly what you want them to do at the conclusion of your talk. Never leave this in the air. If you want your story to impact lives and create transformation, it is your responsibility to offer a solution.
The Journey to Mastery
Advancement of your storytelling skills will come from practice, feedback, and adjusting your message. Pay attention to the reaction of your hosts, guests, and various audiences as you are telling your story. See what they remember afterward. Did any parts stand out to them? Analyzing your story is critical to identifying which areas to accentuate next time. Which parts do you think you should leave out in the future?
Once you begin to perfect your craft, you will be able to play with different variations of storytelling such as identifying places to slow down or speed up the pace at which you share. You can begin to add pauses throughout the story to captivate your audience and take them on a mesmerizing, guided journey.
Share Your Story
If you follow this process, you will begin your journey to master the art of storytelling regardless of the platform you use. I assure you, I used to be terrible at telling my story. Now, people ask me every day to tell my story. Why? Because I’ve learned how to share it in a way that inspires others to live their best life.
As with all areas of skills, learning how to share your story will be an ongoing journey. It will require your unwavering desire to be better than you were the day before. With practice, you will surprise yourself.
No more excuses. Start sharing your story today.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.