Storytelling Permission

This morning I was pondering my “Skills to Learn” list. I have a few new tech skills I want to improve and tools I would like to learn how to fully exploit. My list includes a few coaching areas to further explore and develop along with other odd ball things like; recipes I want to try, a few new pieces I want to learn on the banjolele, but one of the skills I have been focused on over the past several months is “storytelling”. Not storytelling, like “tell me a bedtime story”, but those can be fantastic as well. Stories that are focused on business and connections.

The benefit of story is connection. We feel connected through stories and they create a sense of belonging and understanding. Earlier today I spent a few distracted moments on the TED website browsing through TED talks about professional speaking.  In this video, Chris Anderson discusses what makes a good TED talk. He touched on something that I have been whirling around in my head these past few days.

He said “…you have to get their permission to welcome you in” – and that word “permission” is something I’ve heard over and over again in sales and marketing books and talks. The idea being that before you can move forward, you have to get the other person’s permission. Permission to send things off to their inbox, permission to reach out, permission to ask for the sale…and so what is this permission all about?

Turns out after having done a bit of Googling, that Seth Godin coined the term in his 1999 book, Permission Marketing. No big surprise then that I have heard this term used over and over, as I’ve read many of Seth’s books.

Using the term in the context of storytelling follows my thought process too. In public speaking, as well as storytelling, you are looking to connect with the audience and getting their “permission” to allow you to share your ideas. This is not formal permission, based on an action, like the double-opt-in is in marketing. I see this as the warm-up of the story and the hook. According to Chris Anderson, your listeners need to care about your topic. And selecting the right topic for the audience is the key. So added to my list is “Curate stories”. I think I need a “Story Catalog” — ooohhh, I LIKE that!

FYI: I recently started a ContentLAB workshop with the intent of helping folks craft stories that would help their career and their business.  These are the types of things that are covered in this 6-week session. Both the art of “telling” and the “curating” of stories and the “crafting” of stories.  Finding the story to create connection, build trust and inspire actions.  If you are interested in joining our next ContentLAB,  you can sign up here.