What Is My Story?

Amid all the noise and clutter in our world today, the key to good marketing is to resonate with your audience. No one knows this better than Nancy Duarte, CEO, speaker and author of the book Resonate. “Everyone needs a catalog of stories that you can pull from,” she says. Duarte suggests these exercises to help discover your most compelling stories. These are narratives to use formally in your marketing, or in conversations with partners, vendors and customers.

Draw a map of your relationships and assign stories to the people involved. Write your name in the middle of a piece of paper, then start writing the names of people in your life—relatives, friends, colleagues, classmates, neighbors. Recall memories you shared with these people.

Draw the floor plan of your childhood home. As you create each room in the house, imagine being there. What does it look like? Where is the furniture? What is on the walls? What are the smells? Who is in the room? What are the people doing? This will evoke countless memories as you move through the rooms. Repeat this exercise for your place of business or move through the offices of the jobs you’ve held over your career.

Start to remember third-person stories: movies, books, TV show episodes, stories of people you know. Write them down. For each of these stories and memories, assign an emotion to them—surprise, betrayal, joy, devastation, triumph.

Determine who your audience is. Is it a mom who is struggling with time management? A technology professional looking for a solution? One of your vendors seeking efficiencies?

Then finally, connect the needs of your audience with the theme of a story.

For more tips on telling your business’s story, read "Once Upon a Time in Marketing" on SUCCESS.com.

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