We all remember that moment we read someone’s story and it just pulled us in.
Maybe it made us cry or we felt like they were sharing our own personal story. We could simply relate. Or maybe, it pulled us in because in every way possible, it was vulnerable, honest, true and allowed us to – maybe for the first time – see that we might be able to embrace our own faults and still be great. Or even the story that made us laugh so hard that we couldn’t feel the corner of our mouths after a few minutes. Yeah, you know the one.
That’s the power of a personal story.
One of the biggest mistakes I see when people starting their business is that they push before they ever understand how to pull. Without a pull – and in this case, we’re talking about your personal story, your push falls flat. It’s the reason why so many businesses fail. The reality is that we all love a good story because it lets us know something about who we’re going to work with. We want to know that we’re going to like them and that they can help us with a real problem. But, above all – we want to know that they’re human – just like us.
I spend a lot of time teaching my clients how to connect with their personal story.
In some cases, people like to skip to the hard parts because they’re afraid of sounding like a victim. Or we spend too much time on the narration and forget to focus on the powerful message that can help someone else. Or we get into the other details that make people uncomfortable – something I call the “yuck” factor.
But, when you get your story right and connect with it in an authentic way, your personal story can be your #1 tool in marketing your business and here’s why:
(1) Your Personal Story can set you apart from the competition- Anyone can say that what they have to offer works, but sharing your personal story tells your prospective clients how. It gives them reason to believe that you’re the real deal and lets them see how you can help them. Plus, nobody’s story is the same; yes, there might be similarities, which is great because that means you will be able to connect, but it’s your own story that will make you stand out.
(2) Your Personal Story evokes emotion- and emotion sells. Let’s face it, none of us are an overnight success – either professionally, personally or emotionally. It takes work. People want to know how you reached success because where they are right now might be where you were. Connecting with how they feel might make all the difference. Your readers might remember bits and pieces of what you had to say, but in the end, they will remember how your story made them feel.
Uri Hasson, a neuroscientist from Princeton explains how telling stories that have helped or shaped your life, can have the same effect on others. In a Ted Talk he shows stories cause similar brain activity between storyteller and audience. The emotions that you express throughout your story resonate with your audience, causing them to understand or feel the need to better understand your experience. If your audience understands your story and can relate then it will urge them to want to work with you.
(3) Your Personal Story builds trust – by relaying compassion, understanding, feeling combined with a visual experience, we build trust. When your audience has that sense of understanding or the feeling of “I’ve been there” or “I know how that feels” they will let you in. You are opening up to them and showing that you trust yourself (or product), and that will make them feel like they should too.
(4) Your Personal Brand shows your strengths and expertise – when someone works with you, your personal story tells them what they’re going to be able to get when they work with you and buy your product. Your personal brand represented by your story is the proof that your ideal client wants and needs to give them the push to work with you. It will give them the confidence that allows them to make the decision and trust not only you, but themselves. Your client knows they need what you have, or something similar, but giving them a real example of what you have to offer and the effects it has will show your strengths and expertise.
(5) Your Personal Brand shows possibility– Similar to the effect of emotion, if someone is wondering whether their life can change or if your product solves a problem, your personal story stands to show them possibility. When you share your story and connect with your audience, the understanding between where you are and how you got there will show possibility. You have to be clear and descriptive of the changes because if you can’t see the changes, then how can your clients? We all live in the world of complaints – a personal story that shows hope and the possibility takes us out of our own self-doubt.
All of these point to the reason that your personal story is truly your most valuable – and the best part is that it costs way less than most other strategies. So, now it’s your turn, write your story and tell your clients that it will help them make the changes they are looking for.
TED Talk With Uri Hasson
Are you ready to share your personal story? Download my new FREEBIE: The Personal Story Breakthrough Worksheet. Designed to help you write the About Page of your website, this worksheet will also help you talk about yourself in a bigger, more stand-out way. To get started, click the button and we’ll send it right to your inbox.