Telling the right stories to the right people at the right time

For a moment, think back to your childhood. Do you remember the fun sleepovers? The roasting of marshmallows around the campfire? Staying up late telling your friends scary stories? Or even, desperately trying to keep a secret that you promised you would not share?

Even in childhood, stories captured our attention. And it hasn’t changed. As adults, it’s the stories that still make us stop, reflect, and share. People love stories and when you tell the right stories to the right people, connection takes place.

This past week, I read this passage and my heart nearly jumped out of my chest:

The disciples came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?” He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight.

~Matthew 13:10-13

I’ve often shared how Jesus is the ultimate example for us in all things life and business. And yes, I’ve even shared how He is the master storyteller. But for some reason, this passage of Scripture spoke to me in a completely different way. Let me explain.

While Jesus fulfilled His ministry here on earth, He could be found telling all kinds of stories to the crowds who came to hear Him speak. And if you look deeper, you will realize that He did things VERY different than what the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day were doing; He told stories while the Pharisees prayed REALLY loud prayers on the street corners and lived hypocritical lives (you see, even Jesus was living out the #BeDifferent and #BeWorthFollowing message WAY before we even came on the scene!).

The disciples, who travelled with Jesus everywhere, finally asked Him, “Why do you tell stories?” This was obviously something that they were not used to seeing and hearing. Jesus then goes on to explain that by telling stories, He is giving other people the opportunity to gain insight into God’s Kingdom and that through storytelling, He could nudge and give people a sneak peek into what really matters. And the more stories they heard, the more ready they would be to truly understand the insights that would then flow freely.

So, what does this have to do with you and your business? Actually a lot.

As online influencers and Christian women in business and ministry, our stories are what will set us apart. Ultimately, our goal should be to lead people to Christ and one of the best ways we can do this is through our stories on social media.

But that’s not all. Our stories can also give our community, our follower’s insight into our business and ministry; an insight that only you have and an insight that your committed clients already have. You see, followers that have not yet become clients, don’t have that insight. They don’t really know what you do, what you offer and what it is that separates you from everyone else. They need those stories to see that difference. And as you share those stories on a daily basis, you have the opportunity to help nudge people into an awareness of what it is that makes you different in your business, your life, your values, and your vision. And the more you share your stories, the more receptive people will become to hear the greatest story of all, that of Jesus Christ, which is your ultimate goal.

So, how do you tell the right stories to the right people at the right time? Here are some 3 thoughts to consider:

  • Be relatable: Jesus was known to tell stories that immediately connected Him with the crowd. He told stories around the everyday “things” that people were encountering. Your goal with storytelling on social media is to be relatable, to be human. Don’t be afraid to include the highs and lows of life and don’t be afraid to share from your heart. If people can relate to you, they will connect with you. Remember, the best stories tend to be the ones that are relatable to a wide audience.
  • Be simple: If we look at the stories of Jesus, we will see that they were not complicated (even though at times, people had a hard time understanding them). He not only made the stories relatable, but they were told in such a simple way that ultimately, it caused people to think. He doesn’t use big, fancy words. He didn’t toot His own horn. He told stories that would cause the crowds to think and ponder. And with each new story, I truly believe that people wanted more; they wanted to hear more. Being simple can have that effect on people.
  • Be accessible: Think about it, do you think the Pharisees came off as being “accessible?” I don’t think so. Instead of telling stories, they were found praying REALLY loud (in order to get attention on themselves). Instead, Jesus found a way into the hearts of people by sharing stories that they could relate to. And as the people heard these stories, they found Him accessible because He understood them. The more stories you share, the more people will feel at ease with you. And if they feel at ease with you, they will feel that you are accessible to them, which honestly, makes all the difference. Who wants to work with a business owner or ministry leader who never seems to have the “time of day” to really know and relate to those that she is trying to reach? Sharing stories will set you apart.

So, can I ask you a question? Actually I have three questions:

  1. Do you share stories on social media?
  2. If you don’t, why?
  3. If you do, why?

Telling the right stories to the right people at the right time will set you apart. Social media is so much more than just a distribution channel, it’s about leading people to the heart of your business and then ultimately, to the heart of Jesus. Don’t be afraid to #BeDifferent; it’s in the difference that makes you worth following.

Jen Bennett

Dr. Jen Bennett is the Social Media/Communication Specialist and Project Manager at iBloom. Jen’s passion is helping businesses, ministries and individuals, #BeWorthFollowing. Jen enjoys speaking, training, and writing on all things that inspire and help leaders build a digital footprint and personal brand that is different and that helps them stand out and influence people in a crowded and noisy social media world.

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