Corn or Pearls? Are you giving the people what they need?
There’s an Aesop fable about roosters and pearls. I think about it every time I have a coaching client who wants to improve their business storytelling for whatever reason.
→ A rooster was out searching the yard for bits of seed and corn. If he was lucky, he might dig up a big fat worm. While scratching about, he came upon a perfect pearl that had somehow been lost in the mud. He pulled that magnificent pearl out from the dirt and then spat it out on the ground.
He said to it, “I am sure that for some creatures finding you would be the luckiest thing in the world. However, I do not need you or the wealth you would bring. I am simply hungry, and I can’t eat you.”
With that, he pushed away the pearl with his foot and continued to look for bits of food and feed. ←
Your clients and customers are the roosters.
You might have a perfect story or illustration, the ideal graph or illustration, the anecdote to end all anecdote – and yet all of that might still be worthless to your listener.
Here’s where my work as a coach gets complicated because I may have to tell you: your great story, the one the gurus said you should tell, might not have actual value to your clients. Telling it is an exercise in ego.
If a rooster is hungry, pearls won’t help.
If a client has a need, your prepackaged elevator speech or the like probably won’t help.
Are you ready to toss aside your pearls of wisdom and learn to have a field full of stories that will meet their needs, answer their questions, help them move forward? You know that you are.
Sometimes it’s easy to fall back on what’s comfortable.
I have stories I love to tell: the one about the guy who couldn’t speak, the one about the nurse who was the perfect reluctant storyteller, the one about the potato salad. Oh, and I love the waterpark story for sure.
It’s possible that you might need to hear those stories. You know, ‘cuz I am so good n’ stuff. <errgh><eek><ugg>
It’s possible you don’t need any of those stories from me.
It’s okay. I know how to listen to those I coach. I’ve learned to put ego aside and shut my mouth to help you find your stories, to craft your stories, to share those stories.
I’ll help you evaluate your audience. I’ll teach you how to find the stories that have yet to happen.
Pearls. Corn. Let’s dig around your yard and find them all.
Let me know if you want my help.
Sean Buvala has been coaching and training business and nonprofits in storytelling since 1986. Before the fad. After the fad. Let’s get real and talk soon.