Tell great stories
Storytelling is a fundamental way we learn. Becoming an artful and compelling storyteller is one of the most underrated skills in winning deals. Like any skill, storytelling can be learned.
Communicating through stories has been ingrained in us since our earliest years - storytime at school, at bedtime with parents or caregivers, etc. Therefore, listening to stories allows us to hear information in a non-threatening and non-judgemental way. The very best stories are personal, and when that wisdom is delivered it's more likely to be heard and remembered. This is a must-have skill for any great salesperson or leader.
Why does storytelling work?
Communicates values, not just information.
Reduces teaching time.
Ignites more regions of the brain than fact sharing.
Helps us organize and make sense of someone else’s world.
Provides a dependable way for people to remember, retrieve, and retell a meaningful message.
Qualities of a great story
Simple: Tell your story in a way that's easy to follow, simple to understand, and free of jargon. Tell a story the way you'd talk to a friend over coffee or lunch. In other words: talk like you talk.
Emotional: The stakes are higher when you share an emotion. That journey you are sharing will have more meaning for your audience.
Authentic: Audiences are savvy. They'll smell the “realness" and truth in your story. If you know you're making something up, wild exaggerating, holding something back, or otherwise, there's a pretty good chance the audience will know it too.
Strategies for a great story
Start strong: Assume you have very little time to earn your audience's attention. How can you open your story in a way that says: tell me more.
Show conflict. A good story takes the listener on a journey or narrative arc. We start at A and get to Z, and along the way, we overcome B. Conflict signals to the listener that something is at stake - and they'll have to stick around to find out what happens.
Tell your story with clarity and details. We've all been taught for as long as we've been writing and sharing stories to "show," not "tell.”
End strong. Finish your story with a few words that offer some conclusion.
Have a presence. Your body language sends signals not only to the audience but also to your brain. Your mind will ride that same train if your physical body looks confident.
Give it a shot the next time you’re trying to convey a point to a customer, you may be surprised at how quickly you can get to a resonating point.