We were sitting on my couch in the middle of a rainy Tuesday, and nothing felt right in the world.
My friend had driven 20 minutes just to give me a hug before my next appointment; that’s how sad I was.
I wrapped my arms around his waist, laid my head in his lap, and let out a wail.
He kept his hand on my back and breathed steadily, offering an anchor for my angst.
We sat that way until my tears slowed and my breathing deepened again.
Then I blew my nose and got up. It was time to get back to work.
What does that story have to do with marketing your business?
Not much, other than HOW I told it.*
I could have said something like, “I was really sad. My friend came over and hugged me while I cried. It helped.”
You would have gotten the same general idea.
But you wouldn’t have felt much about it. You wouldn’t have been there, in it with me.
That’s what a scene can do.
Scenes are the difference between ideas and experiences.
With a scene, we’re using words to paint a picture through time.
They happen in a particular location, with particular characters.
They unfold step by step.
They involve the senses — what you might have heard, seen, felt, tasted, smelled or sensed if you were there.
And they bring information to life.
When I’m helping my clients use the StoryBrand framework in their marketing, I’m always looking for ways to bring little scenes into a picture of success or failure of engaging with their product or service.
You can paint a scene in just a few words. For example:
- Finally button those jeans you’ve had stuffed in the bottom of your dresser
- Feel a knot in your heart when you see light leaking in around the edges of the blinds you just spent two hours hanging.
- Hear their squeal of delight as they open the most fun gift of the night.
Whenever you’re writing anything — a social post, an email, a website, a letter to a friend — get in the habit of looking for scenes.
Your readers will reward you with more of their attention. (At least all the ones who happen to be human).
*PS – That opening scene does relate to my “immutable rules” for my business. In getting support for my emotions instead of forcing my way through or repressing them, I was following all of the below…
- Be human. Don’t let rules or policies or red tape get in the way of taking great care of people. Also, allow yourself to be as messy and beautiful and brilliant as you are.
- Be kind. Pretty self-explanatory. Choose love whenever possible.
- Play the long game. It’s never worth sacrificing a relationship now for a quick win. Do your best to keep expanding the time horizon you care about.
- Trust your body. Our intuition has SO MUCH to teach and tell us every day. And the body is how it speaks. Take time to listen.
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.