Have you noticed how you can get bored when a speaker presents a factual presentation? I know I do. I know that the person is not speaking to me and I drift off. It’s like listening to a conversation between two people where you have no opportunity to contribute or participate. The content is not personal and the person is not just speaking to me. If the person were speaking to just me, I would make more of an effort to understand. If the content was entirely based on facts, I would eventually drift off and hopefully not get caught.
Have you also noticed that this doesn’t happen when someone is telling a story. it feels like I am involved and it feels personal. It is much easier to pay attention and is very similar to a personal conversation. I have heard skilled story tellers spin their magic and felt that they were talking to me. Sometimes I feel like announcing ‘ That’s exactly what happened to me..’. So how about using narrative or story telling to get your message across in a business context? Everyone is over powerpoint or pie charts. Think about telling a story to convey your message. Here are some tips for story telling….
A good story usually has the following elements.
The sequence of events.
The hook is what the story means for the listener. It’s the point of the story.
This is the sequence of events.
Set the scene with rich detail. ‘It was a cold, wet, windy, miserable winter day’
Introduce the characters. ‘A tall, lean man called Les approached me…’
The journey. ‘ We hurried to station together under the meagre protection of the swaying trees.
Obstacle. Suddenly I felt uncomfortable. He seemed too friendly.
Overcome. I realised he reminded me of another person and was just being helpful.
Resolve.Some weeks later we met again and I remembered his wonderful advice.
The point. He had told me that the best way to be selfish was to help others.
The question. Are we being selfish enough. Are we building close relationships so that others will help us when we are in need?
So next time you speak to a group of any size, include a story to make you message more personal, memorable and compelling. Narrative reduces resistance and increases attention. It includes emotion which make your message more sticky and easier to remember..
Just try it. ‘Once upon a time….’