Telling stories about storytelling

Every so often, the business world comes up with a hot new catchphrase or word to encapsulate what the innovators are thinking. Waaaaay back when I first started my career, I kept hearing about “thinking outside the box.” Ugh. I don’t think I still quite know what that means…being creative? Working for a federal government contractor at the time, I found that phrase really confusing. Because if you work for the feds, the last thing they want is creative. Currently I can’t avoid the word “storytelling.” It’s the new way to sell your business, your service, your brand, your cat gif site. I suppose in theory it’s a good way to connect to your audience or customers. Stories are what make us human, connected, and relatable. But the problem is not everyone has a knack for storytelling. What might seem like a whimsical introduction or a dramatic attention grabber will sound like hack writing.

Also, not every business is suited for storytelling. My primary goal in writing is to connect to the audience. What can I do to serve readers and make their job easier? If I’m sharing information, I want it to be clear and upfront. I don’t want to force them to sit through three paragraphs of anecdotal noodling before I get to my point. Sometimes you have a rare topic or element of a business that lends itself to storytelling. But most of the time it’s better to save the stories for bedtime.