A post from one of the members of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook reminded me of this when he asked:
Everyone, what’s your story? How did you end up in the chamber world? Why did you choose this path? Or did it choose you?
Be as brief or as long as you want to be.
The way to begin framing your chamber story is the same way writers, journalists, even law enforcement operate — by asking questions.
You don’t begin with the writing or the video. You begin with an inquisitive mind.
Ask Questions about your Chamber from a Historical Perspective
- How long have we been around?
- What was life like when the chamber started?
- What kind of employers were in our area?
- What global events were going on?
- Was our area touched by them?
- What was the cool technology/invention being used back then?
The point in asking questions is not that you’ll use every question and answer in your story, but the answers will provide a much more robust look at what you’re trying to express.
Ask Motivation Questions of your Chamber
If you don’t want to begin at the beginning, try telling the story of who you are now — a modern chamber and powerful supporter of business. The list of questions below includes asking yourself about your feelings on what you do and the area you do it for. These sorts of emotional pulls enrich your story; without them, a story will seem flat.
- What economic projects have we been involved in recently that we are most proud of?
- What project were you behind that would surprise most people?
- What are the stories/backgrounds that brought you and your staff to serve the community?
- What do you think of when you think of your town/area?
- What’s your favorite local business story?
- If you moved here, why?
Ask Questions of Your Members
Sometimes the best way to tell your story is through the “company you keep.” In that case, you can tell the chamber story by getting to know several of your chamber member businesses better. The following questions can help you create a brilliant story about your relationships with your members:
- Why did you open this business?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What’s your best customer story?
- Why did you join the chamber?
- What has chamber membership meant to you?
- If you could start your business all over again what would you do differently?
- What is so remarkable about our area?
Storytelling is easiest when you have a fondness for what you’re talking about. That gives chambers a natural advantage over most people. Your passion will light up your story.
If you feel like at any point your story is flat and uninspiring, go back and ask some more questions. It’s how you’ll get to the bottom of the simplest truth, which is a great place for any story to begin.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by NCinDC