In a presentation skills workshop the other day, one participant was introducing herself. Her opening sentence was dramatic. “Have you ever come face to face with a bear?” she asked. “I have,” she continued, and hurried on to tell us her name, her title, and how her job meant she spent a lot of time in the woods. Not another word about the bear.
The other people in the workshop were not going to let her get away with that. “Hang on,” they demanded. “What about the bear?”
It turns out the bear charged, knocking the woman on her back. Here’s how she continued the story:
“The bear was standing over me. I thought it was going to bite. I just kicked out like crazy. The bear jumped back and ran away. Then it turned and rushed at me again. Just before it got to me, it swerved away. It was like it was bluffing me.”
Everyone insisted she re-work the opening of her presentation to include the full story. She did. She even found a great payoff: “By the time I got to the bar that night, the bear was gigantic – but I’d kicked it’s ass.”
She had a great story. But she almost threw it away. And that would have squandered a wonderful opportunity to really engage an audience.
What’s your story? And how will it promote your business or your organization? The story of you or your organization is a powerful tool for marketing, promotion, team-building and leadership.
Facts tell – but stories sell. Your facts are vital, supporting your arguments and claims. But facts are forgettable.
How do you make your facts sticky? How do you make information memorable? How do you create messages that people remember?
The answer is simple: story. Story is a foolproof tool for organizing the nuts and bolts of business into a force for change.
Stories get you noticed. If you are looking to get publicity, your most effective tool is a story. So what are your stories? Where do you find them? How do you tell them?
You might want to check out a book called Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact.
It’s written by Annette Simmons – who argues that the missing ingredient in most failed communication is humanity. That. she says, is where story comes to the rescue. Story helps you persuade, inspire and influence others when the more familiar business tools of rational, objective analysis fail.
Annette’s clients include NASA, the IRS and Microsoft. Her book is a great read, and a great resource for anyone who needs to persuade others to change the way they act or think.
Neil Everton has distilled a lifetime’s experience with some of the world’s top news organizations into his Media Mastery training aids for anyone worried about talking to reporters. The video, books, e-books and workbooks are available in the Podium Coaching online store.