Be a storycatcher
I recently uncovered my old teenage diaries, including some of the notes my friends and I used to pass to each other in class. My own teenage daughters love using the social media platform ‘Snapchat’. It’s a glimpse into a moment, captured with an image and a very brief caption, like Instagram without the hashtags. We would have loved it, back in the 80s, had we had access to the technology.
It made me think about the fact that since humans evolved to be able to make marks on cave walls, we’ve been sharing ideas with each other in writing. Now it’s a Facebook wall or a blog rather than a cave that’s our medium of choice, but the thought is the same: tell other people our message.
There’s often criticism of the ‘curated’ world of social media. Criticism that it portrays only the highlight reels of our lives and fosters unnecessary and damaging comparisons.
Every so often someone posts something deeply personal and real, something vulnerable, and the post goes ‘viral’. It’s these posts—the ones where the layers are peeled back and we’re achingly ‘ourselves’—that truly touch the people around us.
A messy business story? That's a good thing!
American business coach Suzanne Evans speaks of ‘making our mess our message’ and she’s right. No matter how clever someone is, and how impressive their expertise, people can’t relate to an expert who isn’t also passable as a human being! It’s possible to share even the most highly technical expertise beside a true backstory. Depending on your type of business, it’s sometimes the backstory, and your recovery and growth through experience, that underpins everything.
One of my online ‘crushes’ is Amy Porterfield. I adore the way she speaks to the people in her community, sharing her practical and detailed expertise using a style and tone that makes you feel like she’s some sort of long-lost BFF. You get the feeling she could be someone you’d invite over for dinner. She’s so normal.
The casual ease with which she shares her stuff doesn’t detract at all from the value of her knowledge—it just makes it more palatable. When we emerge from a first career that was often staged in the corporate world, it can take a while to shake off the traditional view of ‘professionalism’. We used to have to adhere to a certain communication style, right down to the words we put on a page.
Starting a business can be liberating. Creatively, there’s a lot of freedom. There are no personal ‘taboos’. No style guides. We can inject our true personalities into what we say and how we say it.
All of that can also be scary. How much is too much? What if we ‘overshare’?
One of the best ways to find your new business voice is to listen to other experts. You’re used to lapping up their content, but start paying attention to their style. Listen to the way they weave their personality and their stories through the podcasts, blog posts, webinars and social media content they’re sharing. Pay attention to the language they use, the level of formality or informality and the fun they have in their communication. Notice their individual personalities.
If you're not certain whether your own communication is hitting the right mark, ask yourself if what you’re writing feels like a message to a friend. Imagine that friend has asked for your help with something and share your knowledge the way you would with them. Experiment with your style until you’ve relaxed into a way of communicating that feels natural, informative and ‘colourful’ in the way that your personality is colourful when you’re in your element in ‘offline’.
Your work is your legacy and the writing on your wall is your message. Let go of the need to ‘get it right’, enjoy yourself online and you’ll begin to attract people who are naturally eager to hear what you have to say—as a professional, and as a person.
Would you like to learn more?
Learning to share your own story beyond your About Page and across your social media platforms is an important skill for you to develop as an entrepreneur. You can become a story catcher and a storyteller – it's is a learned skill and something I am delighted to share wth you on my Training Webinar in The Aligned Program. I’ll be showing you how to choose the power stories that will resonate most with the people you wish to serve and learn how to tell these stories in a compelling voice that is uniquely yours.
I’ll help you to get comfortable letting the world see you - sharing your authentic experience on and offline so you consistently build and reinforce who you are, what you stand for and how you can help.
I look forward to working with you – you can enrol in Aligned right here.
This weeks post is by the multi-passionate Emma Grey who divides her attention between three businesses: WorkLifeBliss, My 15 Minutes and The Storytelling Business where she crafts captivating copy that reflects the unique style of each of her diverse clients.