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What’s the Real Scoop?

18 Jul 2011 11:51 AM | Working Women (Administrator)

What’s the Real Scoop?

By Chris Kuhn, Freelance Writer & Editor

When you ask business owners to stand up and talk about themselves and their business, some have their 30-second commercial prepared and ready to roll off the tongue. For others, the phrase “deer in headlights” comes to mind. But what happens when those opportunities arise that can offer business owners a little more time, attention and exposure, such as speaking engagements, business profiles, or radio or TV interviews? As someone who frequently dons the “media hat,” I’m always fascinated to hear what entrepreneurs will focus on when telling about themselves and their products and services when given the chance to do so. They may think that they know the most compelling aspect of their biz “story” but do they really? Quite often, they don’t.

So how do you determine what are the most compelling points of your story? There are several questions you can ask yourself to help guide you to the real story behind what you do.

  1. Why did you go into business?
    Is there a personal connection to what you’re doing? If it’s a cause, why is it so near and dear to your heart? If it involves a particular audience, what is it about this group that means so much to you? By sharing what inspired you to pursue your dream, you can inspire others, and inspiration is always compelling.
  2. What was your path like to get to where you are today?
    For some business owners, things seem to line up just perfectly but for others, there may be challenges to overcome and by sharing some of these with others, they not only gain an appreciation for your dedication but also for your fortitude and determination to beat the odds. Never underestimate the power of the underdog’s tale.
  3. What would most surprise an audience to learn about you or your business?
    As interesting as your business may be, sometimes it may be a characteristic, hobby or talent that a business owner has completely outside of what they do for a living, that will attract someone to the story. Perhaps you sell real estate for a niche market but it also turns out that you’ve won multiple triathlons. Or maybe you’re a financial planner who just so happens to have a real talent for art. In the process, we learn why you followed the professional path you did but see another side that may draw us to you as a business professional as well.
  4. What information about you or your business could benefit your audience?
    If you ask an inventor to talk about the most valuable part of their creation, you soon learn that what the innovator is most excited about isn’t always what the target market cares about. Yes, it has all of these bells and whistles, and isn’t that nice, but how does it help the customer? If however, you bring a marketer into the mix, he or she can quickly surmise that this new gadget will allow moms carpooling kids to speak their texts to friends by headset while they drive; or save them time preparing business proposals for clients with some automated voice-technology feature. We’re reminded that bells and whistles sound pretty but must know what value they offer to the customer. Stories work much the same way. Why do I want to hear from you? Is there some useful information – maybe from a personal story behind an idea or the outcome of a bad business decision – that I can learn from you? Interest me, yes, but educate me, too, and I’ll want to hear more.
  5. If you were reading a story about someone else, what would interest you enough to continue reading and can you draw parallels to these characteristics in your own life?
    We forget as we’re being storytellers that we ourselves are readers, too. No one likes to read a story they’ve heard before, yet each of us is a unique woman with very distinct experiences that have shaped who we are today. So what moves us? What compels us to go beyond that first paragraph and want to know more? As we consider what factors motivate us to read another’s story, we can take a closer look at our own life, examine our career path and ask honestly – if I were learning about how I reached where I am today, what experiences along the way and elements of my personal and professional background would make me click on “Read More”?

Through our social media avenues, outside media outlets, speaking opportunities or even through our own marketing communications and website, we hold the key to telling the most compelling story about ourselves and our businesses. While we may not have control over how that story is told through certain channels such as traditional media or others’ blogs, we can take the reins each time we have the opportunity to share with others. The “real” story may not be what you anticipated at all, but may allow your customers and prospective clients to see a different side of you that is memorable, inspiring and a true lesson for us all.


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