Tell Great Stories

Chapter 1

It’s been a busy week at Optix. Lots of new business opportunities. Rob’s finding his place nicely as MD and we’re onboarding our new Business Development Manager Chris. Then today, as soon as I’ve finished this I’m going into a Board Meeting and tomorrow we launch our 2021 Digital Marketing Academy: - I’ve hardly had time to breathe, let alone journal. Still. Not complaining. All exciting things.

I’ve often thought that one of the most powerful skills you can learn in life is that of Story Telling and this week, again, I’ve been reminded of this on a few different occasions.

Now it’s a little hard for me to say this following sentence without sounding like the most egotistical person ever but it helps me tell my own story so bear with me. About a week ago, a guy contacted me on LinkedIn having seen a presentation I delivered over 4 years ago when he was at Exeter University (I do quite a bit about entrepreneurship and career development up there). When we caught up on the phone he told me that he’d watched every vlog I did and in that single hour he watched me speak, 4 years ago, that I fundamentally changed the way he approaches public speaking forever! I was truly humbled and a little embarrassed actually (alright, I did quite like it, lets move on). He was talking specifically about the way I inject a human element to all my talks and I tell stories rather than give facts and figures. This by the way, was a skill I picked up from a guy called Jeffrey Gitomer early in my career and he too changed the way I presented forever!

‘Story telling’ is something you hear in the marketing world time and time again. So much in fact that I assume people are bored of hearing about it and everyone knows its power. But every now and again when I speak to people outside my industry and goto events put on by people who aren’t used to speaking publicly I remember that not everyone fully appreciates this art.

“But I don’t speak publicly” I hear you say. It doesn’t matter. Story telling is for everyone.

If you want to get someone to aspire to your vision as a leader - tell stories, paint a picture.

If you want to win your next sales pitch - tell stories the listener can relate to. I’ve always said that telling 3rd party stories in sales is essential and helps win prospects round. “We did this for XYZ company and that achieved Y” - Its powerful and much better than simply saying - we can achieve … return for you, without giving any proof.

If you want to persuade your boss, peer, friend or family member to do something, use stories to help you.

It’s what we’ve done for years. We sit around the campfire telling stories. We go down the pub with our mates and tell stories. We have a coffee with our family and we tell stories. The world is built on stories but sometimes there is a disconnect in the business world and people forget this powerful method of getting messages across.

Where do people go wrong? They tend to default to Facts/Figures and Statements. Don’t get me wrong these are important to get across but its the way you do it that matters.

When I attended a CEO peer group I’m a member of this week called Vistage, we had a world class speaker taking the morning session and the topic was influence and persuasion. For 3 hours he told stories. I watched in awe as every single point he communicated to us was wrapped up in one. Thanks Phil!

When you read this post did you relate to it? Can you appreciate when you’re being told a story or simply being talked at? Is this something you can work on in your own business life? I hope you can and that you live happily ever after. :)