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Stories are nice, but we really don’t have time for stories. We need teaching points and action steps. We need to start telling stories in order to connect with others.

I feel weird using personal stories in my presentation. I was told not to talk about myself on stage.

I’m a heavy content speaker. I don’t really have time to tell stories.  People need to learn and I’m here to teach.

I’m not that kind of speaker – the kind that tells stories. It’s just not who I am. I have a different style.

Everybody knows that sales is about product knowledge. Focus on features and benefits.

As their leader, it’s important that I tell them what to do, and focus on the facts.

These are just a few of the comments I hear about story and its value in a presentation. While I understand why these questions exist, it shows that many people in business are not getting the importance of story, and why EVERY speaker and every person who wants to influence in business should be telling stories.

Too many people in business are equating story to entertainment, and operating under the mistaken impression that content is king. But the research is out (and has been for a while now) – that information doesn’t impact. Content can’t influence.  Teaching points don’t motivate.  Those who aren’t using the tool of story are being left behind in every aspect of business.

What’s the emotional footprint of your speech, and why should you care?

I was teaching a storytelling session to a group of speakers, when one of them informed me that she didn’t tell stories in her presentations because she works in corporate and they don’t want stories.  “What do they want?” I asked.  “They want action steps. Things that can be measured. They want me to teach and not waste their time,” she said.

“Of course,” I said. “Makes sense.  Now tell me something……do they want the people to sit and listen, or do they want to actually make them follow through?  Do they just want the information delivered, or would they like their people motivated to actually act on it?  Do they want you to teach or to actually persuade?  Because if they want anything I just said, then story is the tool that will do that. Your information alone is not enough. It’s not about telling stories just to tell stories. It’s about using the tool to do the work.”

No matter what our industry or job, we are all in the business of persuasion. We are trying to influence people every day. Whether it’s getting someone to promote us, hire us, believe us, learn from us, date us, or getting our kid to clean up his room, we are always persuading.  And most of us have learned that getting someone to do something just because you said so, doesn’t always have the desired effect. You may get what you want because they want to keep their job. But you aren’t truly convincing them to want to do it.  And when you can do that – you will have far more influence than the ones that don’t.

Persuasion is about emotion and connection. Data can’t achieve that. Period.

Our brains are activated through story

Story as a tool has so many applications and pay offs in business. But before you can truly use the tool to your advantage, you really need to understand why it works. Understanding why it works will help you understand how to use it.

Since I’m not a doctor or a scientist, having only learned about story from spending my life studying it, let’s go to some smarter people to see how our brains are wired to learn and be impacted by story, and why your teaching points are not helping you connect.

Here’s the link. Have fun!

If you need help with your story or presentation, or even teaching your people how to connect and engage even when they don’t have time to tell a story, just let me know.


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