In 2016 I got married. The wedding was a celebration and a fun day spent with family and friends. It became even more memorable through something quite unexpected during the speeches at the wedding reception.
The Best Man, Matthew delivered an awesome speech. Matthew shared tales of youth, boys becoming men and lifelong mateship. Much to my relief, he performed his duties, kept it to time and he thanked me for taming his good mate. There were jokes galore. Every person in the room wanted Matthew to be their friend.
It was time for a representative from my side of the family to deliver a speech. The MC announced, “please welcome the Father of the Bride.”As the guests cheered and whistled, my Dad shuffled his 85 year old feet to the stage.After adjusting the microphone and silently acknowledging the crowd with a smile and a nod, he started to tell what could only be described as a magnificent story. It was a story about trials and tribulations growing up. It was a story about success and achievements. It was a heartfelt story about being proud of his daughter. It was a story that fuelled laughter and conjured up tears. Every person in the room wanted my Dad to be their Dad.
A few months down the track, I had an epiphany moment. It was after several calls from wedding guests once the honeymoon was done and dusted and I was back in the business saddle. Every person I spoke to mentioned my humble and endearing Dad. How is he doing? What a great speech! How old is he, 85? Hope I’m like that at 85.
What I realised was that my Dad taught me one of the biggest lessons in business and life. The power of telling stories.
After taking the leap of faith from my corporate world upbringing to go follow my own path in business, I was given advice aplenty on a lot of things. One of those pearls of wisdom was that I needed to tell stories to help boost my business and build my brand. My first thought was that I didn’t have stories. I was under the assumption that one needed to have gone through a massive adversity in life, or be famous, or be in a certain type of industry to have permission to tell stories. I was wrong.
Stories help you communicate what you stand for – In my Dad’s case, it was being passionate about his family, his daughter and welcoming another son into the family.
Stories help you to connect and engage with others – After my Dad’s speech everyone at the Reception felt like they knew him. He was everyone’s Dad for the rest of the night.
Stories are memorable – Many guests remembered specific references he made and things he said even months after the wedding.
In the Corporate world there isn’t enough storytelling being done. You aren’t supposed to and it can be seen to be unprofessional. In an age where the younger generations in the workplace are crying out for more collaboration, more respect and leaders they can trust and admire, what a simple and effective way to teach and inspire others.
In the Business Owner/Entrepreneur space, telling stories can help to promote your authenticity and showcase your authority. Stories are an effective way to share the value you provide and they also allow for people to get to know you. All of which are required to establish trust which certainly makes marketing, selling and generally doing business a lot easier.
Stories can originate from all different aspects of business and life experience (even weddings)! We all have them, as well as the ability to share them.
I recently stumbled across an American Indian proverb that read, ‘Those who tell stories rule the world.’ While my Dad didn’t go on to rule the world. On that day, he ruled the hearts and minds of 100 wedding guests and left his daughter inspired to become a storyteller.