Tell me a story

We are born with a craving for stories.   Ask any parent if their kids ever ask them to read them a report or a product sheet or a market study – of course not, but “tell me a story”, that’s a common refrain.   As adults we may not climb into a lap to ask for a story, but we’re wired for them just the same.   Yesterday, I had the good fortune to sit in on a presentation by Mike Wittenstein of Storyminers.  Mike is a great storyteller, but more importantly he helps people to see the importance of story as a means of making a connection with people.  For us so-called grown-ups, “What do you do?”  is the common refrain, but Mike reminded me that what is really being asked for is that same “tell me story” from childhood.

What if the next time someone asks you that question you answer with a story, instead of the usual 30 second commercial?   Try a real story about one of your customers, and describe the journey taken in working with you.  Set the stage by  talking about the client’s situation and the emotional state it caused.  Talk about the problems solved and the changing circumstances that came as a result.  Finally, bring on the “happily ever after” – share the client’s success and happiness that were the outcome of working with you.  Find the compelling beginning, middle and end and you may find that talking about someone else’s experience is an effective way of communicating your own abilities.

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