Storytelling is universal and has existed since the beginning of human history. Too often in business, we forget or don’t know how to tell our personal stories. This is a shame. And, in business, it is reason for lost business. That’s because stories are one of the best ways to connect with customers and encourage them to take action.
In business, we often focus on objective data, facts and figures, product features, charts, technology and engagement through social media. In art, it is easy to give details about the size of the artwork, the media, the frame, the price and the shipping without ever telling the artist’s personal story. This is unfortunate because the personal story is the emotional part, and that often positively tilts perceptions and drives purchasing decisions.
Don’t make the mistake of confusing personal storytelling with backstories about individual works of art. Backstories help sell art. Personal stories sell the artist. Successful artists will strive to weave them together. They know the combination creates a powerful selling scenario for them and their work.
Storytelling is so important because it reaches people on an emotional level. Stories communicate to the listener exactly what you do and what you stand for. Therefore, it’s essential to craft compelling stories, both about yourself and your art.
The human mind simply loves stories. Stories make a piece of art or person relatable. Just like the characters in a book, we project ourselves into certain aspects of the story's characters. We identify and empathize with them. For an artist, this breaks down the barrier between the artist, the art and the buyer.
For example, we love rags-to-riches stories. There are many books, websites or businesses that tell this classic story. The owner was down and out, all of the odds were against them, they didn't know what to do and were nearing rock-bottom, when inspiration came knocking. This spark of an idea led to them founding the business whose website you're now reading. This is a rousing story that follows the classic conflict-to-resolution plot arc.
Consider the example of a social worker starting a fundraising organization. Social work is hard, and as she begins to grow into her role, it all seems like too much for her. Then, she has a breakthrough one night while walking home from work. She encounters a homeless woman asking for money, and it hits her. She discovers that it truly is her calling and she needs to do whatever she can to help those in need. This story of her epiphany can help her raise money for her fundraiser.
Stories also work well because they're interesting and engaging. You can take any kind of content that may be slightly dry or dull, and weave it together with a story to make it much more interesting and dramatic. This is why we love TED Talks so much. TED Talks often present very difficult or technical information, but it’s put together with the personal story of the presenter to give it life.
Personal stories often follow the hero journey. It is a classic plot line that you recognize in books and films. A character has some sort of a problem or dilemma. A wise guide is introduced to the character who offers a solution or plan. The character takes action or goes on a quest to fix the problem. The result is the action eventually leads to success and transformation. Classic motion picture examples using this story line are Star Wars and The Matrix.
Your story may not be on a par with a blockbuster movie script. It doesn’t need to be for you to use it successfully in your career. What is nearly always the case is your personal story is more interesting than you realize. The exercises and training in this course are designed to pull out your unique story so you can use them in your daily life and your art career.
We are all natural storytellers at heart, but sometimes it's hard to discover stories that will help our businesses build relationships, stir emotions, and engage our customers. This guidance you receive in this training will help you in your career and your personal life.
In this course, you will:
Let’s get started by thinking about stories you’ve already heard and how they affected you.