Last Friday, I was lucky to be with a group of business people who came to my “Real Talk: Using Stories to Create Connection and Sell Your Services” program.
I always look at feedback to see what sticks with people. These folks identified two common problems that you may be facing, too.
Everyone in the room already was sharing stories about their work. But the first issue they discovered was that they hadn’t been doing this with a clear goal.
A Story for No Reason
Like most of us, they told stories because they wanted people to like them. Or laugh. Or feel sympathy for some dreadful experience they’d had.
That’s not good enough. We need to tell business stories with intent.
I invited everyone to set a goal before going into a new business meeting, having an important phone/Zoom conversation, or a meeting with an employee. (Find out more about the neuroscience of goal setting.)
With that in mind, they could choose the type of story – in advance – to reach that goal:
- Show you’re an approachable leader – tell a Who I Am story
- Prove you have no hidden agenda – tell a Why I’m Here story
- Share a memorable lesson – tell a Teaching story
- Inspire people – tell a Vision story
- Explain an intangible idea – tell a Values in Action story
- Overcome an objection in advance – tell an I Know What You’re Thinking story
(Source: Annette Simmons, Whoever Tells the Bes Story Wins.)
This would help them feel more relaxed going into the situation – and increase the chances they’ll connect with others.
Getting Ready to Get Ready to Tell a Story
Two people were kind enough to volunteer to tell a story and let me work with them to improve it.
They did what many of us do: becoming a narrator rather than a storyteller. “And then I did this” or “And then he said that.” They told us what went on instead of describing what was happening: how it looked, sounded and felt.
Here’s the difference.
“I went to the ocean.”
“I was standing on the beach. The warm brown sand felt grainy between my toes. Occasional waves of cool water lapped over my feet, and I sank deeper into the sand when they retreated. I looked out over the blue ocean, and the misty horizon blended into the bright sky, dotted with white fluffy clouds. The hair on my forehead was lifted by a gentle breeze. This smelled alternately of salty seaweed and coconut oil from nearby sun worshippers, lounging on red and white striped towels. I heard their murmured conversations between the sounds of the waves hitting the shore. I could feel the sun on my shoulders, and tilted my head back to let it warm my face.”
Use Stories to Create Connection
You were there, weren’t you?
Stop circling around your stories. Know why you’re telling them, because you have a clear goal. Then give listeners a visceral experience by appealing to their senses – and emotions.
People want to connect with you. Give them a reason.
Want to build your confidence, connection and cash flow ? Contact me to put the power of “the Mozart of storytelling” to work for you.