Author Andy Smith lays down a few tips for improving your storytelling skills.
Telling your startup's story is a huge part of your job as an entrepreneur. In fact, in a recent blog post, The Dragonfly Effectauthor Andy Smith argued that narratives have proven to be more effective at persuading audiences than logic, pricing, and specs.
Smith wrote that the best way to learn how to tell your company's story is to learn what not to do first. Here are some highlights from the post, but the full article is worth a read.
1. Don't tell without showing. It's trite but true: you should show not tell. In the context of the "About Us" section on your website, that means you should be using stories, personality and maybe even humor to let outsiders know who you are. And if your company is able to do it well, a short video can be one of the most powerful storytelling tools.
2. Don't start the story from the beginning. "Chronology matters much less than having your story follow an interesting arc. And as luck would have it, the stuff you need to hook people doesn't tend to happen early on," Smith said. Don't worry so much about telling your story the traditional way. Remember that customers already know the ending to your story -- it's usually the product you're asking them to buy.
3. Don't avoid conflict. A good story always involves conflict. Likewise, something always goes wrong at a startup. Embrace your challenges. "Imagine if Rocky won every fight… no one would watch," Smith pointed out.
4. Don't ignore other versions of your own story. Start collecting others' stories about your company. Social media makes this easier than ever. Don't miss out on the chance to hear a remarkable anecdote from someone who loves what you do.
LAURA MONTINI is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco. @lmmontini