Telling tales

The author performing on-stage in 'Bent' by Martin Sherman, Phoenix Theatre, Wellington, 1997
The author performing on-stage in ‘Bent’ by Martin Sherman, Phoenix Theatre, Wellington, 1997

My wife loves to hear me tell the story about my brush with royalty.

You see, I used to manage a live theatre venue in Wellington, NZ in the 1990s. It was an exciting time for live theatre, with half a dozen venues in town staging generally excellent local and international shows.

Unfortunately, the pay was atrocious.

Needing to make ends meet, I took a job as a dishwasher at the Wellington Club – back then the epitome of fine dining in town.

And while the shifts were hard work – generally starting at 5pm and finishing around 2am – it was worth it for a) the money, and b) the one square meal if eat each night.

On one particular night the number of dishes swelled from the usual 50ish place settings to well over 100; the stacks of plates teetering like porcelain towers of pizza layered precariously towards the ceiling.

And strolling through the kitchen later that night was the cause of such an outpouring of fine china … Prince Phillip himself, wandering between the ovens and chopping boards and sous chefs of my workplace.

He didn’t quite make it over to my area, but I was delighted to know that I had had the pleasureof brushing his royal highness’s saliva soaked pork crackling from his royal plate.

And THAT was my brush with royalty. I can’t say I know for certain which of the plates he’d licked clean, but it was at least six of them.

Why am I telling you this? Because storytelling is the old but very new way to market your business. People LOVE stories. We do. We love to be taken on a journey. Entertained.

So, tell tales when you’re writing for social media.

How does that play out? Don’t just say the facts; wrap them in a tale. Tell the benefits of your product as a story, not as a list of bullet points. Delight your readers. Surprise them.

Although my story isn’t all that exciting, it is a surprising to read it on a marketing blog. Perhaps your customers will be surprised when you tell tales, too.

+Alistair Nestor

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