Use More Stories When You Share Your Message
More Power! An Entrepreneur’s Road Map to SUCCESS
I’ll never forget one of the first times I gave an expert presentation. I was in front of a room of maybe 20-30 people, hoping to provide them with business-building advice that would motivate them to seek me out for additional help and services. When I was finished, I didn’t get a single inquiry. I wondered what I had done wrong, and mentioned it to a mentor of mine. He said, “Did you tell any stories?” “Well, no,” I replied. “That’s the problem.”
The next time, I began my presentation with a personal story about how I had applied certain principles to achieve a certain result. The rest of the presentation was basically the same, but this time, I received several inquiries. As an expert, you have a story to tell – a story about needs met and problems solved.
Stories that focus on people with a problem, seeking a solution and finding a happy ending, touch emotional chords that can move your audience to action.
How do stories motivate people? People make decisions when they feel that they’ll get results. Using stories puts a human face on your message that can help people identify with others who have taken certain action in order to get certain results. It helps them feel that if it’s possible for one person, it’s possible for them, too.
How do you craft an effective story? A good story builds up a problem for the main character. Describe the impact of the problem on the character’s life in vivid terms, drawing the audience in and helping them become invested in finding the solution. Then, at the emotional peak of the story, the solution emerges. After that, move the story on to a satisfying conclusion. In the process, the audience becomes engaged in how the journey unfolds, and how the character finds resolution. Note that when I use the term “character” I don’t necessarily mean using fictional people. Stories from your own life or from the lives of your clients can be very effective.
Why are stories more appealing than descriptions or “how-tos”? A story is a more interesting and engaging message than a basic enumeration of a product’s features and benefits, or a simple step-by-step outline. Though this sort of concrete information is important too, the audience is more likely to remain connected to, and absorb and remember the details of a story. Stories also create images that your audience wants to emulate in their own lives.
How do you use stories when you’re communicating about your message, products or services? Are they as effective and helpful?