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Latest Issue

The Power of Story

The Power of Story

by Doug Carter

Got a big client meeting coming up and have an important message to deliver? Do it through story!

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” (Indian Proverb)

Stories are a magical thing. They present an opportunity for you to connect with your client, put them in your shoes and compel them to act.

Yet, what constitutes a good story? In her excel- lent book, The Story Factor, Annette Simmons writes, “In the end, the best story wins. Not the right story, not even the most frequently told story, but the story that means the most to the greatest number of people—the one that is remembered.” Here are three reasons why I believe you should tell a story in your next presentation:

Stories are powerful memory aids

Even those with a ‘poor’ memory will remember a good story. The more specific your story, the more your listeners can visualize and feel the situation, the more memorable it will be. It is the details of a story that help them to remember the con- tent. Include names of the people, dates, detailed thoughts, unique settings and special emotions. In storytelling, less isn’t necessarily better, but try not to make it more than two minutes long. And by the way, don’t say, “I’m going to tell you a story.” Just get into it.

Stories connect you to the audience

Providing that the story you share is relevant to the interests of your client, it will pull them into your world.

When delivering a presentation, your job is not to deliver content. Your job is to connect with your audience, then deliver the content. One of the best ways to do that is through story because stories are a combination of left brain fact, and right brain emotion...and don’t underestimate the importance of emotion in the decision-making process.

Stories ensure attention

When a story is being told, no one interrupts because they want to hear how the story ends. Thus, if you have a difficult message to deliver, a story-telling approach may help you get the gist of your message across before the objections, concerns or reservations are heard. Telling a story about how you successfully dealt with a similar situation with another business might just be the best way to deliver your message.

Successful business people realize that business isn’t just business, business is personal and that is why a good story, well told, will be remembered, retold and compel others to action. Story merges meaning with emotion and that is the true power of story.

Presentation skills consultant Doug Carter works with forward-thinking businesses who want to make their sales presentations more memorable, engaging and persuasive.

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