Stories are memorable in ways that dry factual statements aren’t, particularly when you need to remembered in a crowd and other people are listening to other people telling them what they do.
Any idea that the story is not as accurate as factual information (even if that is true) is irrelevant if the choice is between being remembered and not being remembered.
Clearly, the purpose of the story itself is to give the listener an idea of how you might help people they know.
The purpose of telling a story is for it, and you, to be remembered.
However, there are a few other reasons:
– to get across a point that can actually be done as a story far more neatly and quickly than it can be as a factual ‘lecturette’
– to pique someone’s interest, prompting them to ask a question and therefore continue the conversation with you
– to entertain them.
Don’t underestimate the last of these. Often people ask “what do you do?” at networking events because either they think that’s the sort of thing you ask at networking events or because they are waiting for breakfast or lunch to be served and it’s a way of filling in time.
Adults learn best when they are in their feelings. As you don’t have a lot of time, you need to exploit this. People usually get into their feelings as a result of an experience and, in the circumstances, telling them a story is a good way of doing this.
Stories are good because they are not about the person you are talking to. That person can then choose the extent to which they identify with the subject of the story. If you’re lucky, you may be describing a problem that the person has (or a person they know has), but you don’t know they have it, and they know you don’t know.
Even if the problem is an unfamiliar one to the person you’re talking to, they can still empathise with the subject of your story and it is the empathy which is the feeling you want them to have, which is why you need to labour the problems the client had in order to get a big contrast between what life was like for the client before they met you, and what it was like afterwards.
by Jeremy Marchant . © 2016 Jeremy Marchant Limited . uploaded 1 june 2016 . image: Free images
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