What is the worst word to use in strategic business storytelling? Think about it, but not for long. Because the answer should be obvious. The most frequently overused word in strategic business storytelling is “I.” Or, a form of “I” such as “me” or “we” if you are referring to your own company.
First, count the number of times you talk about yourself during meetings, presentations and conversations. Then, compare the number of times you talk about your employees, clients, colleagues and stakeholders. Is the sum of this exercise balanced or skewed? In whose favor?
When the one word you overuse is the worst word to use for business storytelling, colleagues and decision makers turn off. Then they tune out. Factor in the strategic value of customer experience before you tell your next business or STEM or analytical story.
Not exactly the career or business outcome you target, is it? Yet, look at your social media accounts. How many of the folks you are connected to actually self-promote, rather than speak directly to you? When the content in our Inboxes and social media accounts is full of “me” or “I” stories, you and I become unconsciously biased towards the legitimacy of self-stories, rather than strategic, business storytelling.
Consider that, after a while, “I-focused” stories all blend in together and become commoditized, rather than distinctive. When that happens, stories become insignificant noise, easily overlooked. Instead of stories which are relevant, valuable, engaging and compelling to the strategic business outcomes we seek. Together.
My One Millimeter Mindset™ advice to you for this week?
- After you tally up how many times you overuse the word “I”, course-correct.
- First, begin conversations focused on your clients’ perceptions, beliefs, values and unmet needs.
- Next, keep the conversation focused on all-about-them, instead of all-about-you.
Gotta say, initially, this will feel like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time: uncomfortable. And that is the one millimeter forward we move, together, this week. When you feel uncomfortable, you and I are addressing a habit that can benefit from one millimeter of change.
Let’s get to where you need to go, together. One millimeter at a time.
It is easier than you think to turn your stories into strategic business-relevant stories.
After you choose to stop abusing the pronoun “I,” what are your next steps? The next, one millimeter step forward you take makes you professionally uncomfortable, doesn’t it? Because you are habituated to professional word choices and storytelling construction.
Let’s fine-tune the stories you tell. For strategic business storytelling impact and relevance. One millimeter at a time. Together. Take these next steps.
I leverage design-driven storytelling to translate across communication disconnects between people and professional disciplines to build Trust. Together, we optimize the strategic business and human capital value of your people and your organization.
- Contact me here. Let’s storytell. To get to where you and your business need to go. Together. One millimeter at a time.
- Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Engage me to present one of my One Millimeter Mindset ™ Storytelling speaking programs, workshops or mastermind groups. Contact me
- I have some great collaborative tools in my book, Do YOU Mean Business? to help you discover your untold stories.
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