What's your story?

Great marketers don’t tell you about their products, they share the brand story.  The world’s best journalists don’t simply report the facts, they find the human-interest story at the heart of the situation. And you – what’s your story? 

The stories that we tell are far more influential with our audience that any list of facts and figures. As the saying goes: facts tell, but stories sell.

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I’ve always been a fan of cars – like most small boys.  I remember being vaguely disappointed when my Dad’s company car turned from a Ford Cortina (Ghia of course) into a Vauxhall Cavalier. Vauxhall’s are boring – and I remember the interior design and dashboard as very conservative and uninspiring. Some years later Dad owned a series of Vauxhall Omega estates – equally boring I thought – their only saving grace was the cavernous boot which could carry all the equipment for a 5 piece rock and roll band.

I inherited Dads Omega at the time my beloved Volvo estate gave up the ghost.  I drove it for about 18 months until it too ceased to be and all the time struggled to keep awake every time I drove – because of the overwhelming boredom of the design.  Vauxhalls are boring.  Have I said that already?  I’m not listening to myself because we talking about Vauxhalls and they are boring. I remember watching a car review video on the YouTube recently about the collaboration between the French PSA group (who own Peugeot and Renault) and Vauxhall who they had purchased from General Motors.  The Peugeot 3008 was What Car Car of the Year – praised for its fabulous looks and innovative cabin design. Vauxhall took the chassis and all the oily bits, and put a new cabin on top of it and called it a Grandland X. In the words of more than one reviewer – they took the 3008 and made it boring.

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When the Omega was carted off to the scrapyard I was faced with a dilemma. I need a reliable car to get to my clients and course – which span the country from Southampton to Manchester.  A lease car was the best option and the only car within my budget that ticked all the right boxes on paper was – would you believe - a Vauxhall Grandland X.  So, without ever driving one, or even sitting in one, I ordered the lease car online and waited 4 weeks for it to turn up. How bad can I be I thought – I only have to put up with it for 2 years.

The car has been with me for about 2 weeks and 500 miles so far. 

I have to admit something to you.

Something I thought I would never say.

I love my Vauxhall.

It’s comfy, fully of the latest tech gadgets, and fun to drive.

No really – it’s fab.

My expectations had been all wrong. The story in my head was that Vauxhalls were boring – they had been in the 1990s – and I assumed they were still today.  I watched reviews from people who reinforced my pre-conceptions. People who drive sports cars for a living that cost the same as my house.

The story shapes our perception of reality.

What is the story you tell about your passion?

Do you share the real story or do you bury the lead?

I had the privilege last week to meet an amazing woman on one of my Stand up and Speak courses who introduced herself as a yoga instructor who liked to climb mountains.

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By the middle of the day we had unpacked her story enough to realise the ‘likes to climb mountains’ actually meant ‘stood on the summit of Everest 8 weeks ago.’

By halfway through the afternoon we heard a bit more of her story – how on the way back down from the summit she and her Sherpa got separated from the rest of the party and left behind. 

Then her Sherpa went off and left her on her own as the night closed in.

How another climber also stranded alone below her on the mountain used his torch to signal for help to basecamp several kilometres below.

And how he died before the rescue party could get to them both.

That’s a story.

Our story defines us in the eyes of other people – and in our own eyes.

Do you like to climb mountains – or do you conquer Everest?

Are you boring – or are you amazing?

Bringing clarity to you story and learning to share it well is one of the things people learn on my 1 day Stand up and Speak and 3 day Speakers Masterclass courses.

Are you ready to tell your story?

You can see our upcoming courses here: www.malmesburyspeakers.com/calendar