What is the point of telling your stories?

Someone asked me this week, “what’s the point of telling our stories?”

If you don’t tell your stories, no-one will every know about them. Have you ever heard a story about someone you know that made you think ‘wow!’ – but they hadn’t told you the stories themselves? 

A few months ago, our neighbour died suddenly. During her funeral we heard many stories about her life that I had no idea about. By then it was obviously too late. 

Keeping our stories hidden away does not help those around us, particularly in an era when we are not very good at conversation. A business world swapping emails and messages on Slack doesn’t lend itself to getting to know each other properly and hearing stories. 

People can’t know that you are brilliant at writing emails which achieve a higher than average open-rate, or that you won a client an award, or that you’re feeling pleased because you figured something out that’s been bugging you for ages, unless you share those stories.

How often do you get talking to someone you haven’t seen for a while and it turns out they don’t have a clue what you do for a living? They might be a potential customer, or they might know someone else who is.⁠

Stories are incredibly useful in business. 

  • They help people understand complex concepts
  • They help people see how your product or service fits with their life
  • They show how you help people
  • They enable you to showcase the work of others
  • They take people behind the scenes
  • They act as a differentiator, making you stand out in a busy marketplace
  • But above all, they help people get to know you. We want to know who we are working with. Stories help build relationships.
A man talking to an audience

How stories help your team

Stories are not just useful for communicating with your customers. They benefit your team as well. 

Sharing stories about your work and how what you are doing is going to benefit others is motivating. How do customers make use of your product or service? What difference does it make to their lives? 

A company newsletter is an opportunity for people in different parts of the business to learn what their colleagues are up to and see how people’s activities fit together. Everyone has a part to play but your colleagues might not be aware of what’s happening in the other scenes. 

How to stop feeling awkward telling stories

Are you reading this and thinking. ‘but won’t people think it weird if I start talking about my job?’ You might find the idea of telling people how good you are at your job boastful. We’re told not to crow about our achievements.

Sharing stories about who you are and what you do to help others to buy from you or to show them you’re a good fit for their business, is not crowing or boastful. It’s helpful. 

When you’re telling stories, think about what the person listening, reading or watching is going to take away from it. What can you teach them? What will they find useful to know?

Your stories can

  • Inform
  • Educate
  • Entertain

Tell your stories from a place of generosity and people will not think it’s an odd thing to do or that you’re boasting. You’ll be surprised how many people will turn around and say, ‘oh, I’ve been wondering about that’ or ‘I never knew that’. 

Rachel Extance (photo by Jemima Willcox)

Rachel Extance helps business tell their stories so they can reach a wider audience for their work and ideas. A professional journalist, she knows how to write stories people find relevant and engaging. If you would like help to get your message across, need someone who can write articles for you regularly, or you would like actionable ideas for how to tell more people about what you do, get in touch.

1 thought on “What is the point of telling your stories?”

  1. Hi Rachel, between the Story Skills Workshop and hustling for my newborn business, I’ve been thinking about stories a lot lately. Thank you for the clear summary about the power of stories and telling them. Java works as a way to tell a story every week. That’s good practice, ain’t it?!

    Your comment that we are “in an era when we are not very good at conversation,” reminds me about Seth saying that we are moving into a connection economy. This is useful as I grow my business.

    These as points of telling stories is so good. I’m keeping it for future reference.
    “They help people understand complex concepts
    They help people see how your product or service fits with their life
    They show how you help people
    They enable you to showcase the work of others
    They take people behind the scenes
    They act as a differentiator, making you stand out in a busy marketplace
    But above all, they help people get to know you. We want to know who we are working with. Stories help build relationships.”
    I’ve really noticed how stories build relationships, too. Perhaps this is why I care so much about being a writer. Thank you for this wonderful article!

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