Storytelling is at the Heart of any Business, Really

I’ve seen quite a few ads on social media by companies that strive to teach the principles of storytelling to men and women in business, to make their presentations and speeches more compelling. I find that quite funny just because I have to stop myself from constantly storytelling. I find it hard to believe that there is such a person as one who has to be taught how to tell stories. But, of course, such people are common in the business world. A lot of people don’t know how to be funny. A lot of people also don’t know how to figure out which of their internal monologues will interest others. I’ve committed enough party fouls myself to know what this feels like. So, it does make sense that there are those who teach storytelling in business as an art form. 

I guess I could teach that, too. It would be easy: so easy that it seems kind of silly. 

But isn’t that the wonder of any great business proposition? You take something that’s incredibly basic to one person and teach it to a totally different type of person who finds it absolutely miraculous. If you charge for such teaching: Voila! You have a business!

For some, advanced mathematics is a piece of cake. They think it’s funny that others have to be taught something so obvious, but, after all, everyone else’s ignorance is that math teacher’s meal ticket. Meanwhile, I have a friend who does architectural restoration who conversed with me recently bemoaning the sad state some people let their old houses get into. I reminded her that others’ architectural missteps were the only reason she had a business in the first place. After all, if everyone took perfect care of their homes, she would have nothing to charge them for.

It’s all about how your tell others the story of what you do in exchange for money. That, in a nutshell is the art of storytelling in any business. 

For instance, I’m here at this art colony in Temecula, CA, right now, called Dorland Mountain, and the story this place tells is that artists need a place to be isolated so they can complete projects. There are many other retreat centers whose businesses are built around telling the story that artists need community in order to work. They’re not wrong, it’s just a completely different story. 

 Before I came here, I didn’t really know such places existed. In fact, I’ve had to explain the concept to many friends. Dorland Mountain isn’t a “retreat,” and they don’t run any programs. There are no teachers here, no mentors, no classes, and no community to speak of. The business model of an art residency like this is incredibly simple: artists can rent cabins in a beautiful place to do their work–be it fine art, writing, music, or what have you. 

They keep this place pretty full, year-round, so the story about artists needing solitude really appeals to many. For us, it’s the greatest story ever told, even though this existence might drive others completely insane. So, don’t despair, no matter what your story, there is a business you can run around it … if that is indeed your path. 

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