3 Tips to Make High Impact Stories Stick
This week I worked with an inspiring doctor called Sarah. She trains students and speaks at conferences on identifying particular conditions that can easily be overlooked. She is an avid art lover and told me about a painting she purchased online from the US last year. She fell in love with it immediately as it was the scene of an older lady with two children and a cat in a garden. It was almost the exact scene from when she grew up with her brother playing in their grandmother’s garden while she watched them. The cat even looked the same! It was a scene that was so familiar to her, she just had to buy it.
Familiarity can be such a comforting thing when we see things we’re used to. In fact they can give us confidence because we can recognise them. However, in medicine it can be dangerous because it can mean you can overlook something important. Familiarity can be deadly, or as the saying goes “it breeds contempt.”
Her story certainly had an impact on me and to think about brushing over things and when that can be the dangerous at work. I will always remember the image I formed in my mind of the painting of something that looked so familiar that I could easily overlook issues.
Research indicates that 78 percent of Chief Marketing Officers think content is the future of marketing. And two thirds of marketers think branded content is superior to PR, direct mail, and print advertising. That’s huge.
Storytelling has been identified as one of the top leadership skills for the future. In most capability frameworks the ability to inspire and engage leads to influence in motivation. Without knowing how to tell stories means our work becomes soul-less, can have less meaning, purpose and colour. For others engaging with us means we become boring and we lose engagement.
Aristotle, one of the finest communicators of all time said we need three elements to influence: Ethos, Logos and Pathos. Ethos means we need to share who said this is important? Logos is about the logic, so what evidence is there to tell us that we need to value this information and pathos or empathy- we need to connect through emotions. If we can get all three we can start to inspire people toward action.
Stories can be leveraged for so many purposes. They can be used in About Us pages in website, presentations, mentoring sessions, training courses, in meetings. They’re great openers, one liners or closers. They connect the messages and points into something more meaningful on a canvas.
So how do you know where to use a story?
The theme matches your message or points- a story can have lots of themes in it. When you tell the story what are points that you want others to hear? When you tell it, what do they actually hear?
Specific date and location- say where you were and what time of year or month. So “I was in New York in December 2011, the city was city recovering from 9/11…” It helps the listener get the story anchored and paints a more visual picture to make it stick.
Have emotional payoffs at least every minute- otherwise they’re boring- If your story takes forever to get the themes out then it will become boring. It needs to have humour or tragedy with highs and lows to engage and keep the listener interested.
So think about the stories that you or your organisation have to share and tell. How are they part of your personal brand and find places where they belong. Keep a journal of your stories that you can use in your presentations, blogs, coaching, induction programs or website. Listen carefully to the stories around you and perhaps you can share those. They don’t have to be about you.
Love to know your thoughts……
Jane Anderson works with Thought Leaders, Trusted Advisors, Experts and CEO’s to increase their lead generation and grow their businesses.
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