Story Time

All the work I’ve been doing on my novel has me thinking about storytelling in a new way. Of course, my novel needs to be a good story. But what about the business writing I do? Can that tell a good story too? I think so. But it needs to be on purpose. And it can’t be cheesy. Here are a few tips I’ve used recently to help me tell better stories in business:

Examples: Business talk sounds cool, but it isn’t nubby enough to hold anyone’s attention. “We’re taking incremental steps to improve profit margins in all areas of the business.” Yeah. OK. How about adding this line next: “For example, we’ve replaced gel hand soap with foam. Foam soap is less expensive and easier for our employees to clean off the sinks.” Boom! Now, they’re listening.

Numbers: I know, numbers and letters don’t always mix. But I’m not talking about spreadsheets-loads. I’m talking about peppering numbers in here or there to add credibility to your story. “We’ve significantly increased productivity this year” is OK. But “We’ve increased productivity by 39%” is better.

Plot: Plot is the way a story unfolds and makes all the difference in a novel. This is no different in business. Instead of starting from the beginning – methodology, research, strategy and blah blah, start with the end: “Sales of widget 2 doubled this year. Would you like me to tell you why?”

See? Novels and business are basically the same thing. Except all good novels end in tragedy and all good business writing ends in success.

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