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How to Use Stories to Make Your Point
"Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact". Robert McKee
We have all had difficulty getting across a concept, directions or a request for improvements at some time. We explain, give instructions, and talk about the expected results. Often our audience just doesn’t seem to get it. We all have different styles of communication and sometimes we miss the target and don’t get our point across.
At client meetings when I have a profound observation to make and I am getting a vacant look; or when I ask, “Does that make sense?” and the response is, “Not really”. I know my message is unclear. I have found that a short narrative is an effective way to get my point across. It can be as short as an analogy or as expansive as a story. Tales can be actual experiences, yours or others, excerpts from books or movies, or even made-up scenarios. The benefit of a story is that it paints a picture. It can be visualized. The description of a situation rather than a concept helps people relate and can be remembered long after the story has been told.
When discussing customer service or sales improvements with clients, I tell them about my great experiences at LL Bean and horrible episodes with the telephone company. Restaurants and car dealerships are also great examples because everyone has experience with them. Stories about familiar situations invite people to talk about their own relevant experiences. They always get the point.
Think about the business gurus who want to change how we manage, strategize or market our businesses. They tell amazing stories of how it has been done right and when companies have failed miserably. Unlike the gurus, we don’t have to mesmerize people with our elaborate recounting but we do need to be clear, to the point and passionate about our message.
Opportunities to use stories in business:
Happy story telling!
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