What is a Signature Story?

The five core stories that make up the Story Blueprint are the; Signature Story, Founding Story, Values Story, Aspiration Story and the Customer Story.  

At the centre of the Story Blueprint is the Signature Story. In my previous post about the Signature Story I wrote some questions to guide you in discovering your story.

This story carries the essence of who you are and what you stand for, and when you can articulate this in a way that is relevant to others, it will set you apart. 

According to Aaker and Aaker, researchers at  Stanford University, a signature story is an intriguing, authentic, involving narrative with a strategic message that clarifies the brand, the customer relationship, the organisation and or the business strategy. 

What makes an engaging story?

There are different ways to share your story, you can mix it up, tell the story in different lengths and for different purposes. I believe that the measure of success in storytelling is not when someone says, ‘I really enjoyed your story’. What I consider is a story well-told is when someone says, ‘I really enjoyed your story as it reminded me of…’, and then they share one of their own stories. 

My story is not about me, it is about how I help others. If people cannot see themselves as part of your story, they won’t be able to relate, and they won’t care. 

According to Arthur Graesser, professor of psychology at the University of Memphis, Storytelling is the best tool we have for helping people care about issues. People are more likely to remember information they get in narrative form.

Your Signature Story evolves

Once you have crafted your suite of stories, these stories will evolve. Your story may take a different direction and you may find yourself navigating unfamiliar territory If there is a life lesson in that experience you may revise your Signature Story to include that part of your life. 

You may end up with several different versions of your Signature Story, despite the essence of the story remaining the same, some of the examples and the significance of different parts of your story may change. 

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to story-telling. Once you have crafted your story, here are some ideas on how you may use that story as part of your leadership narrative.

Here are 10 ways that you can use your Signature Story

Speaking

1. Speaking at a conference. Your story may form part or all of your talk. This may be a short TEDx style to a keynote speech that is typically 30-60 minutes in length. 

2. Being interviewed or as the host of a podcast. Your story can be used as part of your introduction or when you are in conversation with the host. It’s handy to have that 60- second version of your story when somebody asks ‘so why do you do what you do’. 

3. Speaking pro-bono as part of your marketing strategy. Speaking in public should be part of every business marketing plan. It is an easy and effective way for you to be front and centre to your ideal clients. In this case your story may form part of your introduction, or be used to share ideas throughout your presentation.

4.  Speaking on a webinar. Again you may be the host or the one being interviewed.  You can craft an introduction that includes a brief snippet of your story. Keep it short and simple. 

Writing

5. Writing your Signature Story as part of your book. You can include relevant parts of your story into the introduction of your book, or many books have a section title,  ‘why I wrote this book’. 

6. Writing your story to include in your About Me page on your website. In this context your story helps visitors to your website get to know something about you and get a feel of what it may be like to work with you.

7. You may use parts of your Signature Story in your blog posts, articles, and other social media marketing. This is particularly relevant if your story is strongly associated with your brand. 

Sales and Marketing

8. Your story may be part of your sales presentation. Perhaps you can include a paragraph that incorporates a shortened version of your story. This could be during face to face conversations when the topic comes up, during a meeting with a prospective client or in your sales documentation.  

9. As part of your slide deck. Is there a strong visual that sums up your story? This can form part of your introduction. 

10. Remember that whilst your Signature Story is about your life experience, the purpose is not about you. Your story needs to have others featured. When you are meeting with people ask them about their story. To become a better storyteller we need to become better story listeners. 

Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth, and I’ll believe, but tell me a story. And it will live in my heart forever. An old Native American proverb.

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If you are a senior leader or business owner who is keen to develop your business storytelling skills, then you can book a 30 min complimentary virtual story coaching session with me. 

To help you find significant moments in your life, I have developed a set of storytelling prompts. My Story cards are a set of 50 cards in a sturdy box. The cards are ideal to help you find memories and experiences from your life. You can use the cards alone or as a game with others. The cards are available in Australia with free postage. If you are outside of Australia, please contact me for postage rates. 


How I can help you

Virtual Masterclass – This live masterclass Communicating with Influence or Business Storytelling for Leaders can be delivered as a 30 minute session x 3, or a 90 minute session. 

Virtual/Online Training – A live class (not pre-recorded) This session is 4 hours duration, with 90 minutes of interactive content, a 30-minute break, followed by another 90 minutes. This session is ideal for small to medium teams. Topics include Communication for emerging Leaders, Communicate with Influence, Public Speaking for Business Success, Presenting Online for Leaders Managing Virtual Teams.

Virtual/Online Coaching – Public Speaking and Storytelling Coaching at concession rates for business owners and not for profit organisations until 30 June 2020.  

Virtual Presentation – Now is the time that event planners can access speakers to present virtually from anywhere in the world.