I’m perfectly content, honored even, with my title as editor of the Business Times. Although editor of a one-man news staff isn’t nearly as impressive as it sounds and necessarily requires a lot more than editing. Like reporting, writing and occasionally hauling out the trash.
But I’ll admit it. I’ve long aspired to something my beloved late wife, ever the astute attorney, would have dismissed as ostentatious. Your royal majesty, perhaps. Supreme allied commander has a nice ring to it. Then there’s my personal favorite: illustrious potentate. For that matter, I wouldn’t mind becoming what the Beatles called a paperback writer.
All kidding aside, the one title that actually matters most to me also describes a function, and that’s storyteller. I use that word not at all in the derogatory sense of those skilled at fabricating exaggerations. Rather, I offer reverential praise to those who make connections, convey truths and perpetuate culture in ways great and small.
I love to tell stories. Hopefully, I offer some compelling ones in the mysteries I’ve written about a small town newspaper editor and brilliant history professor.
At work, I love to tell stories about entrepreneurs and their ventures. I love most of all to tell success stories with happy endings because I believe they offer lessons from which other entrepreneurs can learn. Kind of like the morals of the fairy tales that were read to us as children.
Not at all surprisingly, storytelling has garnered growing recognition as an effective form of brand promotion.
Kindra Hall, president of the Steller Collective consulting firm, also possesses a title of which I’m especially envious — chief storytelling officer. She comes by the title by education and accomplishment in both earning a master’s degree in communication and winning a national championship in storytelling. Yes, that’s a thing.
In her forthcoming book “Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences and Transform Your Business,” Hall details the four kinds of stories businesses can tell. They include the value story to convince customers they need what a business provides, the founder story to persuade investors and customers the business is worth the investment, the purpose story to align employees and the customer story in which those who use products and services share their experiences.
Let’s add to the conversation my observation from working more than 20 years as editor of a business journal. Nearly every business has a compelling story to tell. Few businesses tell their stories well. Some don’t even try.
Fortunately, part of my job as editor of a business journal is telling those stories. You could call me a storyteller, in fact. Actually, make that chief storytelling officer.