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“Don’t say the old lady screamed,” Mark Twain once said. “Bring her on and let her scream.” In a nutshell, our very own Tannus Quatre was quoted saying the same thing in an article featured in the March 2012 edition of PT in Motion, though perhaps not quite as colorfully.

Titled “The Power of Storytelling,” the article discusses harnessing the power of storytelling within the physical therapy profession to educate, inspire, motivate and persuade. In it, Quatre talks about how creating a narrative about yourself and your practice (show them what you can do, don’t just tell them) can result in more effective marketing and lead to more physician referrals.

Storytelling, says Quatre, gives you greater power to define the value(s) you have to offer to patients and referral sources.

“This helps to diminish our own biases—such as how good we are—which get in the way of a good, compelling story,” Quatre says in the article. “How good I am or my practice is makes the story about me, not a story that revolves around my audience. Who wants to hear that?”

And as long as you’re telling a story, go ahead and be the hero, Quatre adds. “… but you should always make sure the story is centered around what your audience needs and not just what you excel at.”

Communicating in a narrative-driven, audience-centric way is a great rule of thumb regardless of your profession. In the world of physical therapy, this ensures your differences – the areas within which you excel as a PT practice – are noticed, understood and appreciated.

Quatre goes on to form a couple of examples of how a physical therapist might go about telling the story of his or her practice. If you’re a registered user, you can read these suggestions, along with the rest of the story, here.

(Our apologies for the pay wall. If you can’t access the article, drop us an email and we’ll be happy to talk storytelling with you.)

PT in Motion is the professional issues magazine of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). It is published monthly.