Stop Compartmentalizing: Find a Story to Tell

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Last week I was working with an executive, and he got flustered.

“I can’t think of a story,” he said.

I told him, “Just think about it – the stories will come to you.” And sure enough, they did.

Why were we looking for stories? Not just because it’s trendy right now in business. But it’s because they are effective tools for making your message stick, as we learned in Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Made to Stick.

“Story” is also the S of our SHARP principles.

Here are the Top Ten Reasons stories are useful and powerful:

  • They are real
  • They are (or, they can be) short
  • They are interesting
  • They are human
  • They give third party credibility
  • They are easy to tell
  • They are memorable
  • They are emotionally connecting
  • They move people
  • They are the principle communication tool since humans began talking

And a bonus: They draw out the best behaviors in you – you lighten up, add energy, seem more alive. Others are drawn to that excitement and expression.

What Others Say

To be a person is to have a story to tell.
-Isak Dinesen

The story is more important to me than the part.
-Catherine Deneuve

Of course it’s the same old story. Truth usually is the same old story.
-Margaret Thatcher

A compelling story, even if factually inaccurate, can be more emotionally compelling than a dry recitation of the truth.
– Frank Luntz (Communication Specialist in language – also a political consultant)

Remember, people buy on emotion and justify with fact.

Create YOUR communication experience – stories will add mightily.

 

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