Three Ways Storytelling Can Build Your Client Relationships

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I walked into a meeting with a client so nervous a few months ago, I thought I was going to drop my folio. My hands were shaking – there was a lot on the line with this one and I couldn’t get the impending yes or no outcome and what that meant for our business out of my head.  It wasn’t until fifteen minutes later when I found myself telling the story of my parents’ visit last year from Canada that I was able to finally relax. And so did Shelley, my client. Turns out her parents are from overseas (the UK) as well and she was experiencing the same ‘oh god my parents are visiting’ excitement/ anxiety that I was all-too familiar with.   I couldn’t help but reflect afterwards, a few months later, on how powerful that story was in building that relationship.

There’s so many reasons building your confidence in sharing your own story (and stories of your other clients) can help you in your every day role. These are three (but there’s many more):

Interestingly,  stories are linked to memory.  Want to make a lasting impression whether you’re meeting someone for the first time at an event or having a long meeting with a client? There’s cold hard science that links memory and action to story telling and shows our brains are hard wired to respond to stories.  When we tell a story that someone identifies with or evokes an emotional response,

dopamine is released in our brain. And dopamine helps people remember those experiences better altogether and with greater accuracy.  So if you want someone to remember you or remember your point – a well-told story is almost a guarantee this will happen.  Read more about the science behind this in this article on why storytelling is a powerful way to activate our brains.

 

Secondly, stories help bring meaning to the madness of our roles and reconnect us with our purpose.  Ever find you sometimes get lost in your role a little and question why you started doing this in the first place?  Collecting meaningful stories from your career and your clients along your journey can help you remember how what you’re doing truly helps people.  If you’re a financial planner, you’re probably helping people plan for their future and fulfil many of their aspirations for their family. If you work in People and Culture you might be creating a comfortable, collaborative environment so teams can truly enjoy coming to work each day.   The stories we tell (even to ourselves) around what we do and how we help people serve to bring us back to basics when things are challenging.

 

Finally, storytelling in business has the power to open up conversation in ways that can super charge an interaction like a traditional meeting. Ever wanted to ask your clients what keeps them up at night about their business but don’t want to be met with a slightly bewildered look in response?  Starting with your own story or telling one of a client that is experiencing similar challenges to them can show you can truly empathise with their experiences.

Want some more juicy info on the power of storytelling in business?  Here’s a few more resources to check out for home work. Class dismissed.

The Four Truths of the Storyteller – Harvard Business Review

Selling Your Product Means Telling a Story – Women 2.0

Wisdom in the Age of Information – Brain Pickings

 

Get in touch to have a chat about our programs on Reinvigorating Your Personal Brand, which includes a heap of practical, hands-on content and activities on building and telling your own career narrative.