My favorite class in college was Psyche 101. My prof was so good, that on any given lecture there was an overflow in the lecture hall with students who weren’t even registered for his class.
He was a good storyteller.
Storytelling sells. When you communicate with your clients and potential clients, they need to connect with you. And the best way for them to connect and remember you is to become a good storyteller.
According to Author, Consultant to Fortune 500 Companies, and Master Storyteller Kendall Haven,
“… story structure is the single most effective and powerful delivery system to successfully plant your message into the mind and memory of your target audiences.”
Our brains are hardwired for stories. As North Americans, we spend $10 billion a year going to the movies, $15 million on video games, and average 35 hours a week watching TV. It’s engrained in our psyche. Ignore this truth when you’re writing your e-newsletter or creating a group talk, and you risk destroying your impact. Worse yet? Not making an impact at all.
So how do you weave a story into your content? Three simple steps:
- Find a character pursuing a goal,
- … who faces a challenge or obstacle,
- … (and here’s the most important part) share why and how that character resolves their challenge.
Where to Dig
Everyone has a story reserve. If you’ve come from the corporate world, there are obstacles that have gotten in the way of progress — faulty equipment, old technology or obsolete processes that can set the scene that your potential clients can really identify with.
If the corporate world isn’t your experience, then look for everyday heroes that saved the day. You might even find a good character in one of your customers, and the hero of the story was what your service did that made their life better.
What To Look For
Once you’ve found your character, don’t just look at what they did. Look at HOW they did it and then prime the emotional pump by sharing WHY they did it. Meet…
Johnny The Bagger
Barbara Glanz is a speaker and author. A few years ago, she spoke at a convention for a large grocery chain. Over 3,000 people attended. At the end of her speech, she gave out her email address and phone number, and invited people to share their stories.
About a month later, Barbara got a call:
“Barbara, I heard what you had to say about service, and I like it! I’m just a bagger in the store and I have Down syndrome, but I wanted to think of a way I could make a difference. I decided that I like sayings, so each day I’m going to pick out one that I like, and my dad and I will print it out on the computer. I’ll cut out the quote in strips and sign my name on the back of each one. The next day when customers come through, I’ll just drop a strip right in their bags and say, ‘I hope you enjoy my quote of the day.’ What do you think, Barbara?”
A few weeks later she gets another call, this time from the Store Manager:
“Barbara, you won’t believe what’s happened at our store. I went out into the store and noticed that one line was three times longer than the others. I went to the back of the line and suggested that customers move to another checkout, and they wouldn’t budge—they wanted to see Johnny’s quote of the day! In fact, one lady said, ‘I used to come here once a week, but now I come 2-3 times just to see the smile on Johnny’s face when he drops in his favorite quote.”
Now that’s a story. We can relate to Johnny and his challenges. He came up with a simple idea, figured out how to get it done. He made a difference in a BIG way. No one cares about processes and programs. They care about people — their challenges and the why and how behind their solutions.
Tell stories in your presentations, videos, emails, and blog posts. Any time you’re trying to persuade or convince someone to do business with you, great stories with strong characters will make it happen. Promise.
So dig deep and tell a story – your story. You have it in you and your clients want to know about it. And then do the rest of us a favor and share it below.