Storytelling. What’s the story with that?
Are you the kind of person who starts off a joke with ” I can’t tell a joke to save my life” but then proceed to tell it anyway? When you try to tell a story do you take every off ramp on the highway to hell before you reach the conclusion? Does your audience try to commit mass suicide as soon as you start talking? Can you not, for the life of you, ever get to the goddam point? Then this post might not be for you.
Can you imagine anyone making a cottage industry out of something so mind numbingly obvious it insults your intelligence in a way that makes you doubt your sanity? I will spare you the cave wall history and the references to Mark Twain and Stephen King so I can get right to the point. Go to Amazon and type in “Storytelling or How to Tell Stories” and you will probably have to reboot your computer.
No one needs to tell you how to tell stories. No one. Especially in the business world where bullshit is currency. Marketing is storytelling, so is sales, so is HR, (don’t get me started) in fact, almost everyone in corporate America and most of your friends, is giving you a line. If you’ve ever shit your pants, lost your homework, came home drunk or ran a red light, you’re already a master story teller. And I bet they were beauties.
So why, all of a sudden the emphasis on this age old means of entertaining and influencing each other? Storytelling is the infrastructure of politics, religion and even The Elks. Every time you meet someone new, you tell the story of you. You can give the short, condensed version, or if you want them to leave, the long version.
Call me a cynic but someone’s making a boodle of cash off of this latest (?) craze. If you are in any kind of business, especially your own and you don’t know how to tell your story, your angel investor will be just that, an angel.
It’s still going on to beat the band. Like it’s a revolutionary new concept. CEOs, executives and venture capitalists, (venture capitalists?) sitting cross legged on the floor in rapt attention taking in this drivel. Annual sales meetings are starting soon and storyteller speakers are booking up fast. This is where even the most mediocre motivational speakers hit pay dirt. Slot fillers.
I’ve been covering them for the last four years and it’s the same routine. “Storytelling for Success” is the usual heading. I liken it to adding lettuce to a tuna sandwich to make it look bigger. Four days is a lot to fill.
To make it worse, some of these storytelling speakers really suck and even they know it. We had a story teller who wouldn’t come out of his room when it was time to go on. Probably couldn’t get his story straight.
It’s like the time I lost my mouth but to my surprise there it was, right under my nose all the time.