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Once Upon a Time...4 Tips on Using Stories to Influence

IStock_000001026615_webOne of the best ways to motivate and influence others is through the art and science of storytelling.  Would you prefer to listen to someone give you five bullet points in a business presentation on why your change initiative is important?  Or listen to a story on how the change initiative will change your life and/or the life of your customers?  Give me a story any day over facts and bullet points!  A story activates our entire brain and is much more likely to be remembered.

The theatre and acting community excel at telling stories, so there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.  There is a lot there for us to learn.  In fact, here are four tips to start using stories in your communications:

  1. Use a metaphor or analogy to draw your audience in.  Help them connect the dots.  For example, a new product you want to implement is like a tool (hammer?) that helps us complete a certain task.
  2. Include the three elements of a good story: an introduction (who we are, what we want), a conflict, and the resolution.
  3. Include a surprise in the story - people love surprises.
  4. Practice with your family, friends, and "safe" colleagues.

Perhaps we will expound on storytelling in future posts.  You can never get too good at this stuff.  Let us know about your storytelling experiences!




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