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Storytelling versus Corporate Speak

Many years back I was certified in a hiring process called Targeted Selection. One of the keys to the interview process with a new candidate was asking open-ended questions that required the candidate to tell a story. The reason was because it was a lot easier to get people to reveal their honest answer when you asked them to describe the entire story rather than ask them a yes or no question.

Here’s an example:

  • Do you work well with tight deadlines? Answer: Yes
  • Storified… Can you tell me about a time at work where you had a number of very tight deadlines that were going to be a challenge, or perhaps impossible, to make? Answer: A story that you could ask additional details about.

Stories are both revealing and memorable. Most of us don’t remember the last press release we read, but we do remember the last story that we read – even if it was about business. The Orabrush story is the last one that comes to mind for me.

Content strategies online demand that we quit the marketing and corporate speak and start telling stories. It’s a key strategy with Corporate Blogging. People don’t want to hear corporate-speak about your company, product or service, they want to hear actual stories about how your customers are doing better by doing business with you!

The Hoffman Agency has developed an infographic on Storytelling vs. Corporate Speak. You can also read more about storytelling techniques on Lou Hoffman’s blog, Ishmael’s Corner.

About Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of The Marketing Technology Blog and recognized MarTech expert. Doug is a Keynote and Marketing Public Speaker. He's the CEO of DK New Media, an agency specializing in assisting marketing technology companies with their inbound marketing - leveraging social media, blogging, search engine optimization, pay per click and public relations. He's assisted SaaS companies like Angie's List, GoDaddy, Salesforce, Webtrends, and SmartFOCUS with their digital marketing and product strategies. Douglas is also the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies.

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  1. Doug,

    Thanks for taking the time to spotlight our infographic on storytelling.

    Your example using the interviewing process is a good one. Our experience with open-ended questions affirms that everyone has the ability to tell stories.

    Now, one might not have the glibness of Conan or the bite of Chris Rock, but that’s o.k.

    For a company, the goal isn’t to have them laughing in the aisles.

    The goal is to “connect.”

  2. Great post and strong point. Storytelling can be used in a range of scenarios and is usually always more appealing than corporate yapping. Loved the infographic too 🙂

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