Stories work, even when audiences just want cold facts

In our coaching sessions we are always urging speakers and presenters to tell more stories. But are there ever occasions when you shouldn’t tell a story? There are certain industries that are not conducive to storytelling. And there are certain audiences that are less receptive to storytelling. They like facts and figures, they expect facts and figures, and they are disappointed when they don’t get facts and figures. 

I’ve worked with clients in these industries, and facing these audiences. Yet we’ve always managed to slip in a short story or analogy or metaphor to make a fact or a figure stick more memorable to the audience.

For example, if you’re speaking about investing in a sector or company, tell a short story on the development of that sector or company and why you’re investing in it. It doesn’t have to be long. If you are talking about the development of a new product, tell a story about the development process that demonstrates how thorough was the work that went into the product.

Stories are so important, because human beings are hard-wired to remember stories. So take some time out of your busy day and think about the stories that could help you. 

Look for:

1. Stories that say something about who you are, what sort of a person you are. 

2. Stories that say something about you as a leader, about how you connect with people, how you persuade them to share a vision or task.

3. Stores that show how your product or service helps people, about how your product makes life easier, or better, or safer… how it changes lives.

4. Stories about the struggles you had developing your product or service, stories that illustrate how much time and thought and care you put into the product you are selling or the service you are offering.

Make a note of potential stories. Don’t trust your memory. These stories are precious resources for you. Look for places to slip in one of these stories in your next speech or presentation. 

I promise you, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes and your audiences will love you – even if they came expecting a steady diet of facts and figures.