Stories are powerful tools for persuaders. Compelling storytelling
automatically creates involvement and attention with your audience.
We can all think of a time when we were in an audience and
not paying attention to the speaker. We were off in our
when all of a sudden we perked up and started to listen because
the speaker had begun to tell a story. We sat up, attentively
listened, took note of what was being said, and wanted to know
what would happen next. Whenever you sense your audience is
starting to wander, you should have a relevant story ready.
Notice I said
relevant. You can capture attention by telling a story but
you will lose long-term persuasiveness if your story does
to you or your topic. If your stories work well to underscore
your main points, your presentation will hold greater impact.
Remember, facts presented alone will not persuade as powerfully
as they will when coupled with stories that strike a chord
within your listeners. By tapping into inspiration, faith,
and a person’s
innermost feelings, you will cause your prospects to be moved
by your story.
Stories can be effectively used to do any or all of the following:
attention and create involvement
into existing beliefs
existing resistance to you or your ideas
who you are
Stories answer questions in the audience’s mind about who you
are and what you represent. If you don’t answer these questions
for your listeners, they will make up the answers themselves. Your
audience members can tell from a story if you are funny, honest,
or even if you want to be with them. Remember, building rapport
is a key ingredient for persuasion. Since you usually don’t have
time to build trust based on personal experience, the best you
can do is tell your prospects a story that simulates an experience
of your trustworthiness. Hearing your story is as close as they
can get to the firsthand experience of watching you in action.
Your goal is for the listeners to arrive at your conclusions of
their own free will. Your story needs to take them on a step-by-step
tour of your message. A persuasive story simplifies your concepts
so your audience can understand what you are talking about and
what you want them to do. We love stories to give us answers to
our problems. We accept the answers a story gives us more than
if someone were to just provide us with those answers. Courtroom
lawyers often create reenactments of events. They make the stories
so rich in sensory detail that the jury literally sees, hears,
and feels the event as it unfolded. The trial lawyer’s goal is
to make his or her description so vivid that the jurors feel the
client’s distress as their own and as such are moved by it. The
more concrete and specific your descriptive details, the more persuasive
your storytelling will be. Using specific details pulls the listener
into the story, making it real, making it believable.
Pack your stories with authenticity, passion, and humor. Make
sure they are straightforward and that the timeline or character
development is not confusing. A story that confuses will not convince.
Use your body, voice, props, music, or costumes if necessary. These
methods intensify your message because they reach all the senses:
Your audience will vicariously see, hear, and feel. Engaging the
senses of your listeners will make your story more effective. If
you can get your listener to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste
the elements of your story, their imaginations will drive them
to the point of experiencing without actually being there. As you
learn to incorporate the senses, you will find that their effects
can persuade faster than your words. For example, smells and tastes
can be very powerful. Both can evoke strong emotional memories
and even physiological reactions in your listeners. Invite them
to imagine the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and
you will see noses flare and faces relax with the feeling associated
with the smell of freshly baked cookies. Such sensations will fill
their minds with feeling. Or describe in full detail the sensation
of biting into a fresh lemon. You should see the faces in your
audience pucker and their saliva start to flow in their mouths.
You want the experience to come alive in their mind as if it is
happening to them. Paint the picture in such a way that it becomes
so real that your audience feels a part of it. People will participate
in your stories if you let them.
the next Millionaire Diamond Mine
The Power of Repetition
taken from Magnetic Persuasion by Kurt Mortensen
Mortensen, author of Exponential Success Skills and Weapons
of Influence, is one of American’s leading authorities
on Persuasion, Motivation and Influence. After receiving a
Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelors of Arts,
he began many successful entrepreneurial ventures, through
which he has acquired many years of both experience and success.
In addition to his extensive entrepreneurial and sales experiences,
Kurt is a sales and persuasion coach helping thousands of people
reach higher levels of success, income and persuasion mastery.
Currently, he is a speaker, consultant, and a Trainer for Mark
Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen Protégés.