When a friend, boyfriend, spouse, or male co-worker proudly announces that someone in his life just had a baby, and you ask for details above and beyond gender and name, have you noticed the glazed look in his eye?
A woman will not only tell you the exact length and weight of the child but also:
- what the date and time of the child’s birth means including any similarities it shares with the other hundred people she knows
- how the mother’s birth sign will mean a stressful relationship between the two
- and how the child also has Aunt Mildred’s nose even though no one has seen Aunt Mildred since that issue from a decade ago that no one will talk about in a normal tone.
Women capture more of the details.
We also use more words. (Not that a large number of words is preferable in telling a story.) So…
How Do You Tell an Effective Business Story?
What is preferable in creating an effective story are the following details, and let’s face it, women know details.
Setting the Stage
A story must have a context and a setting for your audience to identify with it. Trying to make it fit in “any old place” is giving away an opportunity for connection. Luckily, most business stories incorporate place if for no other reason that their business is located in one.
Baiting the Hook
Again, women reign supreme on this. How often do men ask us “What’s wrong?”, and we reply with a muttered nothing. It’s not because there really isn’t anything wrong. We just want to make sure our audience is paying attention when we finally divulge exactly what’s eating us.
We also do this on Facebook. How many of your women friends post things like “<sigh>” waiting for someone to take the bait?
Creating a Character
Women are always creating characters and assigning shared characteristics to completely oblivious people. For instance, we won’t date a certain man because he reminded us of our high school guidance counselor who wore the same pair of shoes, shirt and pants every day and no one wants to marry that guy. But it’s not that this new guy wears the same clothes every day. No, he gets lumped into the guidance counselor role because they both said the word “fire” like it was pronounced foy-yer.
But that’s okay, because you already have a mental image of this guy now don’t you?
Setting a Goal
All good marketing needs a goal and here I’m going to give men their due. A tight marketing campaign (and business story) is going to contain a measurable, defined goal and men are just as capable as women in defining and analyzing the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
I wrote this post to annoy several professional friends of mine. That was my goal. I’ll let you know how it worked.
In all seriousness, the reason storytelling is so effective in marketing is because it gives you a feel for the personalities behind the brand. A vibrant storyteller will make your audience feel something and say it in a way that is both memorable and inspiring. It doesn’t matter if that person is male or female, works for the company directly as CEO or mail-room clerk, or an agency person who gets ready every morning by acting out scenes from Mad Men.
They just have to be skilled at sharing that one true point that builds an indelible impression and leads to a connection that drives a purchase.
Do you think women are better than men at business storytelling? Let me have it below.