Steve Jobs was the best business storyteller
of his generation.
Many credit Jobs with being genius or possessing insights not available to us mere mortals. But, Jobs was far from that – often flawed and, at times, myopic in his views. He did, however, have an uncanny ability to tell stories.
When Jobs launch the iPod, he didn’t opt to do what Microsoft later did, which was focus on technologies and features. The MS Zune “iPod Killer” debuted as the most advanced MP3 player in the word. It sold 5 million units.
Jobs, however, called the iPod “a tool for the heart”. He knew the MP3 player was a relative unknown in consumer consciousness but everyone felt the familiarity of music and emotion. The iPod sold 500 million units; the best selling consumer electronics device of all time.
Define: Business Storytelling
– how leaders like Steve Jobs use existing narrative frameworks to engage and create positive change.
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When Jobs launched the iPhone at MacWorld in 2006, he switched from Shortform to Longform story – two techniques you can use in B2B Podcasts.
In the Longform structure, he positioned the iPhone as the “accidental hero” in a world that had sunk into the darkness of bad design (read phones with knobs and keyboards). In this narrative, it wasn’t Apple who decided to build the iPhone, it was the people crying “save us”. And save them Apple did. When Jobs promised the iPhone would “revolutionize the phone” he really meant, “revolutionize the phone industry.”
And lastly, when Jobs pitched the idea of the new Apple Campus to Cupertino Council, he once again leveraged the classic Hero’s Journey myth outlined by author Joseph Campbell in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”
This is a technique you can use too, making you the hero of your story. I’m not talking about wearing a cape or picking up your magic wand but creating a narrative structure that makes sense of your adventures, a structure that engages your audience and makes them feel part of the journey.
Podcasts: Get our Guide for Corporates
So can you tell stories like Steve Jobs?
You probably think he’s a natural.
But let me share this with you.
From my experience of working with 100s of podcast and webinar hosts in my day job at the Podcast Agency I’ve learned this: storytelling isn’t a personality trait, it’s a skill.
Confident people don’t make better storytellers; storytelling makes people more confident.