Why Be a Storyteller?

You’re running a startup. Why should you bother being a storyteller?  Who has time for that? I have a release to push out. I have a team to hire. I need lunch, and I need sleep, even just four hours a night. I need to stop being a workaholic, maybe in about five years. 

You’re been there, yes? But you also have to add storyteller to your job description, because your story is how your customers, users, and investors connect with you.  If you can tell your story in a way that overlaps with theirs, the connection you need is made instantly.

Example? The other day at a big natural products expo I was in desperate need of an espresso.  I walked by a booth for a coffee company. It was a brand I’d never noticed before.  The owner of the company, who was pulling the shots at the booth, noticed that I slowed my pace and offered me a coffee. He told me the story of how he got started, communicating his passion and knowledge about his coffee, the worldwide locations where he sources the beans, the care and attention he gives to roasting. He handed me a freshly-made espresso that really hit the spot. It was a great cup, but it was his story helps me remember his brand.

Your brand is another way of saying ‘this is what I stand for, and it’s my promise to you that I will deliver.’ Stories are the medium of transfer. Storytelling connects people. In the digital world, where attention is divided and connections remote, we need stories to learn about each other and create a shared code around our experiences.

Also published on Medium.