5 things about storytelling every entrepreneur can learn from Bill Clinton

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Startup Storytelling – 5 things every entrepreneur can learn from Bill Clinton

I’ve been watching as much of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions as I can.  I’ve been comparing the tone, style and credentials of the speakers and looking for tips I can pass on to customers.

At the Democratic Convention Bernie Saunders speech was inspiring.  Vice President Joe Biden’s was smart.  President Obama’s was, as times, conversational – I suspect that late night talk show producers will be lining up to sign him up when he leaves the White House next January.  But one speech stood out.

Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention was a master class in storytelling and every startup entrepreneur should study it. Here’s why.

It was engaging.  The speech held delegates, almost in silence, for 42 minutes.  They listened intently and hung on every word.  Bill Clinton took us on a journey through his relationship with Hillary – from first meeting to the first female US Presidential candidate.

It had one objective.  Hillary Clinton is renowned for being intensely private.  That has made it hard for some voters to connect with her.  It has also allowed her adversaries to paint her any way they want.  It has been hard to argue against them, until Bill’s speech.  Voters now have a much rounder picture of the Democratic candidate.

It had one message. But it didn’t overdo the message.  In contrast to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s speech, which repeated a few key messages over and over again (for almost an hour) Bill Clinton’s speech provided examples of how his wife embodied the values the Democrats want voters to associate with Hillary.

That said, Bill left the audience on the floor and around the world, that his wife was a “change-maker” that got things done, both in her political life and her personal life, working to support causes she felt passionate about.

Hillary had Bill tell her story.  The most common mistake I see with startup & small business entrepreneurs make is that they try to tell their own stories.  “We’re unique.  We’re amazing.  We’re better than anybody else” – and, in most cases, it fails to convince anybody.

You would say that, wouldn’t you?

The most effective way to tell your story is via a third-party.  Somebody the audience considers credible (irrespective of what you think about Bill Clinton his credentials when it comes to running a country can’t be argued) is always the best approach.  In many cases entrepreneurs use journalists to do this, not realizing that while journalists are respected they’re rarely the people turned to for opinions and advice.

So, if you’re looking for an exemplary example of storytelling then do yourself a favour and watch Bill Clinton’s entire speech.  It’s provided above (via YouTube account Hillary Clinton Speeches & Events).  Make notes and then figure out how you can apply Bill’s template to your own story.