1. Why is storytelling important for entrepreneurs?
Storytelling is extremely important for entrepreneurs. In fact, it's a necessity for their brand to be able to establish respect and resonance with their customers, grow, and survive, and it's what separates their brand from others.
The best brands today tell amazing stories.
Have you seen a Nike commercial lately, a can of Coca-Cola with someone's name on it, or even an episode of ABC's Shark Tank? These stories bring us closer to those companies.
There is a story (and in some cases thousands of stories) behind every company's brand, and the stronger that story (or stories), the more opportunities that brand has to earn and keep the loyalty of customers.
No one wants to connect with a logo; they want to connect with the brand and the people behind that logo.
After the homepage, a website's about page is the next highest viewed page. Why? Because we want to see how the business began, who's behind it, and why it began. This story helps us establish an understanding of and relationship with the business.
2. What separates a "selfish" from an "unselfish" storyteller?
Like storytelling in general, being a selfish storyteller is a natural part of our lives. It's also a necessity for the vast majority of human beings.
Examples of completely unselfish storytellers are monks and nuns. They dedicate their lives only to serve others, and the vows they take require unselfishly giving up the things that the rest of us seek to gain (money, family, fame, comfort, etc.).
With my TEDx Talk, "The Importance of Being an Unselfish Storyteller," I'm not suggesting that people become monks or nuns, but aware that the personal experiences and tough times and hardships they have been through can help others get through those tough times. These are the stories that can change the world.
What you ate for breakfast posted on Instagram or your blog post about reasons why someone should do business with you may serve a purpose, but are you posting these messages for you or someone else? The more we can even out the proportion of selfish and unselfish stories we tell, the better off the entire world will be. Inching closer to being an unselfish storyteller is something we should all strive for.
3. How did you come upon the opportunity to give a TEDx talk?
Networking and getting involved in things I love in the community.
In my years working for a nonprofit that worked with college students who had aspirations of becoming entrepreneurs, I learned the importance of building a network and the joy that came from selflessly helping others.
It was basically my job to help people--how cool is that?
From this experience I met many amazing people and continued to work with them after I had quit that job. When TEDx was launched in my area, Normal, Illinois, I was lucky enough to have been invited to participate.
If you want to speak at an event like TEDx, or do become involved in community events of this nature, start connecting with people who get stuff done. There are many people who talk about creating change and doing things, but very few people who take those thoughts and good intentions and turn it into actual action. I just got lucky enough to surround myself with a few of those people, and like to think I'm one of them as well.
4. In putting your talk together, what did you most hope that listeners would take away from it?
Too often, we worry about the way we will be perceived because of something we say instead of the positive impact it may have on others. We have to shift our mindsets a little bit to recognize how important being real and vulnerable in our communications to others is.
Leading up to the talk, I was scared and nervous about the talk. When talking to professional speaker coach and author Michael Port, he said that it's important to measure the fear you feel against your desire to get your message out to others. Since I had a significant desire to share the importance of being an unselfish storyteller with a large audience, my fear changed to anticipation. I was excited to share instead of being scared to mess up and fall flat on my face up onstage.
This same kind of shift in thinking is what I hoped to leave with listeners of my talk and people who watch it on the official TEDx YouTube channel. I want them to think of the value of their stories to help other people instead of worrying about how these stories may be used against them or the fear that comes with being vulnerable and giving away information that we’ve been told since an early age isn't appropriate to talk about.
Mentioning that I was held at gunpoint isn't fun or something I do to get people's sympathy or interest, but if one person gets the tiniest bit of comfort or decides to contact me to talk about it, I've been able to make a change that would've been impossible without sharing that piece of information.
We all have had our lives changed because of something someone else said. We can do this positively for others, but we have to be able to recognize these opportunities and not be afraid of opening up unselfishly to help. Each of us has the ability to be inspirational, motivational, and life-changing solely by speaking our truths and giving anecdotes and insight from our lives.
5. What else would you like readers to know about you--and about the ways that you help entrepreneurs?
Whether you're an entrepreneur, corporate professional, or unemployed, I'd like to encourage you to think deeply about how you communicate with others and what people around you need. Whether this is a story, helping hand, or something completely different, solving a need that people have around you will always be in demand.
With the entrepreneurs and small businesses I work with providing content strategy and management, I need to fill their need of connecting with people who need their help.
Regardless of what their business is and the products or services they offer, there are always more people they can serve and better ways to serve current customers. It may seem odd that writing can fill this need, but information is extremely valuable, and stories can be the vehicle for that information.
If you are interested in learning more about me or what I provide, I welcome you to visit MichaelLuchies.com, TrepRep.com, or email me right now at Michael@TrepRep.com and tell me how I may be able to help you or your business.