The Power of Story

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Imagine you’re selling a product, service or stock in a public company. You present your logical argument: these are the features and benefits; and you support them with impressive statistics. But when you look at the audience, you realize that they’re still not ready to act. So you add a supportive story – and then you see the smile on your audience’s face. Why did the story make it a compelling argument?

Stories added the necessary emotional ingredient. They allow the listener to visualize the central character and identify with his/her feelings … thus energizing the listener to do something.

Here’s an example. A new CEO discovers that there organization has highly bureaucratic. Telling people that simple requisitions that could be processed in days are taking months, doesn’t motivate anyone. They all experienced similar frustrations. Then he adds a story about how the system produced a lack of supplies, which forced the department to lay off people temporarily; how one such mother, who was the sole support of her family, now was skimping on food and other essentials to survive; how her daughter Emily was falling behind in school because of the impact on her. Suddenly, everyone is energized to do something – and action follows.

The story – whether it’s the employee suffering, customer elated by an experience or investor taking a risk – engages the audience at an emotional level that demands closure. And that produces the decision to buy/sell, etc.

So, to produce compelling presentations, include stories about the relevant experiences of your customers, clients, investors, employees, strategic partners, etc. Help your audience feel their pains and pleasures, and you’ll find the emotional link will accelerate the closing of the deal.