What’s the Point of Your Story?

The weather at the Boston Marathon this year was brutal. Forty degrees, 20mph winds and rain showers. Everyone was freezing and drenched from head to toe. By mile 4, Olympian Des Linden was ready to call it quits. Convinced it wasn’t her day, she offered to help pace and shield the wind for a teammate. It had been 33 years since an American woman had won the race and she wanted to change that, even if it meant sacrificing herself. It was that shift in focus that distracted her from the weather conditions long enough to not only catch the leaders but pass them and win the race!

We’ve all faced adversity in one way or another. And when we do, it’s important to step back so you can shift your focus to the bigger picture. And it’s the same thing when it comes to storytelling.

We love stories. Every single one of us looooooooves a good story. In fact, the next time someone says, “Let me tell you a story,” whether it’s at a bar, around the coffee machine at work, during a meeting or gathering in a public space, just watch how people lean in to listen.

The thing about stories is, you have to know where you are going. A story without a point is just a good story. Sure, that’s great for entertainment value, but you have the opportunity to inspire! Land the point and change the way your listener thinks or acts.

When you are using your story to help influence, it should be leading to a singular end goal and focus. If you’ve taken one of our programs, you know we refer to this as your Point of View. What’s the point of your story?

Once you know the point of the story, you’ve started with the end in mind, it’s time to work on the telling part. We’ve blogged about this before.

Bolster the details. Make it concrete. Make the story easy to visualize for your listener. Then, add some emotion. Emotion will help the story come to life.

Your goal is to help your listeners see, then feel, then change. Describe in vivid detail, add emotion, then hit ‘em with your point of view (and of course your actions and benefits). That’s a story that packs a punch!

Are We Defensive In How We Communicate?

When is being on your heels a good thing? And by that, I mean, being defensive. We’ve all seen it before in sports, most recently in the Super Bowl. One team is up, and then there’s a momentum shift and the tide turns. I’ve had sleepless nights while coaching my 4th … Continue reading

Heads Up, Phones Down

When I was at dinner last night, I couldn’t help but notice that everywhere I looked, people were on their phones. At one table, I saw a person talking to someone who was staring at his phone during the whole conversation. With 24/7 access to email, to Facebook, to Twitter, … Continue reading

Are You A Leader We Can Bank On?

“Focus on the jockey as much as the horse. Or, if racing eludes you, bet on the head coach…would you feel confident investing your hard-earned money on a legal bet this weekend on a team in the NFL without researching or knowing the history of the coach of that team?” – … Continue reading

The Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators of 2013

Announcing the 18th Annual Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators of the Year! The list is diverse, including business and global leaders, athletes, politicians and celebrities, with specific examples and tangible takeaways. See how these lessons translate for use with your colleagues, your customers and even your kids. The 10 … Continue reading

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

I’ve heard over 100 presentations on philanthropy and giving. I spend a lot of time recording people speaking on video. Luckily, many of us are motivated to give back, and we want to urge others to do the same. This is not a complaint – instead, there is a great … Continue reading

Decline of Eye Contact – And How You Can Correct It

“Just look me in the eye already!” Now that’s a great title from today’s Wall Street Journal article and interview with Sue Shellenbarger. (Great exposure! At the end of the day, the eye contact piece was still ranked #1 in their “Popular Now.”) Here’s the feature. And if you want … Continue reading

Communicating Likability

In effective communicating, it’s not just important to be likable, but to exude likability. Proof? The Voice vs. American Idol. Are you an old time addict of American Idol as I was? I even blogged on how critical confidence was for success – probably my favorite Idol of all time … Continue reading

Should I Be Likable or Influential?

Actually, you can be both – and you should try to be both. When you’re likable, you’re almost automatically more influential. As Bert wrote in You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard, “The likability factor dominates in politics. It dominates in business. And it dominates in our day to day lives. … Continue reading

Fake It Till You Become It

Several of our program leaders use the phrase, “Fake it till you make it” when they are coaching. I prefer to raise the bar on that challenge. Do as social psychologist and HBS Professor Amy Cuddy says: Fake it till you become it. Amy’s TED talk is filled with reasons … Continue reading