The Power of stories

How do we know where we need to put stories and how do we know we have the right stories.

First and foremost the stories really create a connection between you and your audience and yet again it doesn’t matter if it’s an audience that you’re speaking to. If it’s an audience of clients that are in your course or any other situation really they help you create a connection with the person that you’re talking to or the people you’re talking to. Humans have communicated over millennia through stories and it’s really it’s been true in recorded history and it’s still true today. If you think about it even you now TV commercials most of them are really just stories. That’s all they are. But they’re stories that sell a product or service. And if you can tell a good story and connect with your audience on an emotional level then they’re much more likely to remember you for a long time.

Make sure to have engaging stories.

Really making sure and having a story that engages people that draw them in and stories can be a great way for people to see how what you’re sharing can actually apply to them, that they see themselves in your story. It really can make a big difference. It really helps you create connection with them and then the second thing that it does is no matter how dry a topic you’re talking about if you’ve got good stories in there it’ll still keep people interested and if you switch that around if you don’t have good stories it doesn’t matter how compelling your topic is they’re going to lose interest, that they’re just their minds going to start to wonder. Maybe you are taking notes as the speaker is going along and all of a sudden you are actually thinking about the stuff you needed at the market or you are thinking about something going on when after the event because the speaker lost you because they didn’t have good stories involved. Even if you have a lot of charts and a lot of graphs but it wasn’t really making an emotional connection. You have to draw people in.

You have eight to 10 seconds to engage with someone when you start to talk to them.

As a speaker, you get up there they introduce you, you get on stage and you have about eight to 10 seconds to engage with the audience before they start to lose interest. That’s why it’s so important to start with a story or have some compelling stories throughout your talk or throughout your course or whatever it is to keep them engaged and really make that connection. It doesn’t have to be something that you personally experienced. It’s really good to always have a mixture of those and your own stories because that shows that you have experience, it shows your expertise, it really helps them engage with you personally. But It’s also important to have stories that you’ve heard from other people because that shows some universality to whatever it is you’re talking about so that it’s not just you and it’s not just them as the listener, that oh this happens to other people as well and that this is a challenge for a lot of people. And your story really helps make that emotional connection with you and also with the issue as a whole. How does someone know if a story is going to be engaging or could have put people in? Some people might say they don’t have very interesting stories. But it’s not so much that the stories not at least in my view it’s that it’s the telling of the story has to be interesting. And so you know to say I don’t have any stories and I have met clients from time to time and say I don’t have any stories. And you know I guess my thinking is Well you know you’re 40, 50, 60 years old how old you are and have you done nothing in your life at all. And the answer of course is, well no, sure they’ve done some things in their life. Well, then you have stories because everybody who actually has lived the life has stories. It’s just a matter of how you tell them and finding the stories that have universal appeal and also engage and are relevant to the point you’re trying to make.

Asking good engaging questions.

Tell me about a client you’ve loved working with. Tell me about a client who had phenomenal results. You know if someone is stuck. What did you do to move them? Both it and I know that site part of it I think is shifting the way we think when we’re looking at stories and asking some good questions have a conversation with someone and record the conversation because when you’re talking one on one we do tend to share a lot of stories that we probably don’t even think of when we actually go to put together a keynote or put together training. Ask sort of engaging questions and you might start thinking about these questions for yourself. You know how you actually have engaged with clients before. What kinds of things have clients told you that have been successful and how could you weave that into a story. Just think about your everyday life. You know I think in a previous business builder we talked about the analogy of if you don’t have a car then you know a basic economy car is great for you. You don’t need a Ferrari. Well, that’s a story. OK. So think about in your everyday life situations that you’ve had that relate to some of the issues that maybe your clients are having and how could you meld those two together into a really interesting and engaging story.

Once you’ve got your stories how do you actually add that to your course or presentation?

There is a formula to add those. There’s a little bit of art as well but there is a formula and that’s all you know one of the reasons you want to work with a company that is expert at creating products and services as you’re doing that. So a company like Turn Knowledge to Profit. We do that all the time and we are able to get those stories from our clients and incorporate those into their offerings. You know first, you want to make sure the story supports the point you’re trying to make. And I know that may seem obvious to a lot of people but you’d be surprised how many speakers don’t get that basic rule. They tell you and maybe you’ve had that experience you think back to talks that you’ve been to where they tell a really interesting story. But at the end, you’re kind of saying Well that was interesting but I’m not sure how it relates to what you’re talking about. And so you are you were entering. That’s more what I would call entertainment that’s not actually teaching you anything. And so you want to make sure that they really support you know what you’re trying to the point you’re trying to make.And that’s why you know another tip I get people is the same thing that we do when we’re creating a presentation or a course or an offering for a client. We don’t add the stories until the very end. It’s one of the last things we put into the finished product. And you know I do have specific spots where I’ll put a placeholder that says no story here or make sure that we put a story you know ask clients about a story for this spot here but it doesn’t actually add the story until the end because I want to make sure that the story really reinforces the point that’s being made and I don’t know fully what the point is going to be until the course is put together and everything flows together.

Combining education and entertainment.

And I think it’s important to do both and I know I’ve heard presentations where someone tells a story and it’s like OK that’s a nice story but what am I do with that. Or how do we apply it to what I’m doing? I’ll think it’s really important when you’re telling stories to watch the audience. Are they leaning in? Are they looking at you? Are they kind of on the edge of their seat or are they sitting there looking down on their cell phone checking text messages and you know checking e-mail? Are they really engaged because if they are they’re going to want to know what’s coming next and I think that’s really important? Always be looking at the audience and really seeing how engaged they are and the other thing that I can say it’s I was also a tip is to make sure that you know there’s just as you said is a formula telling a story or what stories use there’s also a formula for how the story’s structure and you want to make sure that you again engage with some company or some coach or whoever it is that really understand storytelling but you have to set a context for the audience. You have to make sure the points are clear you have to give out a background. A lot of times when I see new storytellers or coaches or speakers that are trying to incorporate stories into their offerings I see them do something I call speed thinking. Since they lived the story they sort of cut to the end without including a lot of the upfront stuff they speed think through the story assuming that their audience will understand that in a lot of times their audience doesn’t understand because they haven’t been given the context they have been given the background they have been given the setup for the last and it’s coming later in the story. Stop to think about OK what details does someone know if they weren’t there.