Small Business Q&A: Helen Kuyper from 24-7 Storytelling.

In this week’s Q & A, Kehlan talks with Helen Kuyper from 24-7 Storytelling. 24-7 Storytelling works with companies to help them write their company story and Helen explains why that’s so important.

Q: What is 24-7 Storytelling?

A: Well, the easy way to explain it is that we work one-on-one with people who have important stories to tell. Those stories can be from managers or CEOs when they are looking to change the company strategy. On the other end of the spectrum, we build complete stories for entire organisations. A couple of months ago we had 300 people in one room building a collective story for the entire organisation.

Q: When you say ‘story’, what do you mean by that?

A: What that means is just that, the story. It’s just that, in a business setting, you have to take into account the business aspect of it. So other people might use the word ‘strategy’ for it.

The difference between story and strategy is that you take those elements which make it into a story and build upon them. So, one of the important things we say to people is that you have emotion, because people make decisions based upon emotion.

As humans, we make decisions based upon emotions and then find the data to back up that decision afterwards.

So, what we say to our clients is that if you are trying to change, like your company culture, you need to change the emotion of people towards what you’re trying to do.

We’re called 24-7 Storytelling for the simple reason that we believe that everything has a story and the only question you need to ask yourself is: “Is this story the one I want to be telling?” A lot of times businesses tell stories that are the wrong stories.

Q: So what, then, is the right story to tell?

A: The right story is the story that matches what you are trying to achieve. So, firstly you ask yourself what is it that I really want to achieve with this, then you go and find the story that matches that. There isn’t a one-size-fitsall template for this.

Every business is unique and so needs a unique story to represent them. Then you look at what is the best way to tell the story. Will it be used in the online sphere or for speaking at a presentation or social media. It can also relate to the physical side of your business.

Q: Is the ultimate goal to lead to an action by the end user?

A: Yes, definitely. That’s a good way to formulate it. What we would say is you can have a great company strategy, but if that company strategy doesn’t mean anything to the people involved if it is not going to get implemented correctly.

A lot of companies have values that don’t mean anything. They use words like ‘professional’ or ‘innovative’, but unless you load those values with stories then they are meaningless.

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