Stories are how we connect with others.  The power of a great story is that it draws a connection point between two people. In marketing, storytelling allows you to form a deeper connection with your audience. When you, or your brand, tell a story, and when it resonates with someone listening to it, an emotional bond forms.  The listener can now relate to the story teller in a way that no biographical background or resume could ever enable.

It’s important for marketing professionals, and really all professionals, to practice storytelling today. As we become more and more connected with technology, we need to be extra careful that we’re still forming genuine connections. Storytelling, since the beginning of time, has been used to form human bonds. But there’s a critical piece to the origins of that bond that many people often overlook, and if as the story teller you miss it, it can prevent you from forming the type of connection that will really impact that listener and ultimately hinder your career growth or your business.

When we think of a great speaker, a good leader, of someone we want to rally around, we think of someone who is open, communicative, truthful and vulnerable.  They open up in a way that lets us in and allows for trust.  Great, all of that is needed.  Having the vulnerability to share your darkest or weakest moments will open the door inviting your audience (be it one person or 100) in.

But if you want to get them to stay, if you want to get them to want to connect and build a longer lasting relationship with you, you need to give them a destination.

People love a great story they can relate to and they love the vulnerability a good story teller shows.  But what codifies the relationship into one that can lead to more growth and business and longer lasting impact and results is the story tellers’ ability to let the listener know “if you come along with me on this journey, here is where we are going, and here is how your life will get better.”

Yes, we love to connect with the person speaking, but ultimately we are always still looking out for ourselves.  That’s how we’re wired.  When listening to someone speak, we don’t want to hear how great the speaker is or all of their accomplishments.  Subconsciously we’re listening for clues and details as to how what they are sharing is going to help or benefit ourselves.

So, when you’re telling a story, when you’re connecting with someone new at a networking event, at a conference, in a coffee shop, in an interview, remember to not only be vulnerable, but also let the listener know how your story and your journey help others.   Share with them how your story has helped make you the person you are today, and because of your journey you’re now able to solve these problems and provide value that changes the lives of the right people.

If your vulnerability and your dark moments are the cake, the destination you take people and the problems you now solve for them are the frosting, the sweet icing on top that is going to draw that other person in and want to get a taste of just how good and how valuable you are.

Share you story.  But make sure it goes somewhere for the audience.  Be sure to bring them to a destination that takes the pain they’re in today and solves it and helps them create a better life for themselves.  That is the art of a good story, and that is how you fill find yourself forming better relationships, getting hired, winning clients and growing your career and business.