I go on about how important stories are, but there are some very, very good reasons for that. A good story:
- is received effortlessly
- does all the hard work – it’s easy to construct and remember
- is relatable – it can engage people on a personal and emotional level
- makes your subject come alive with examples
You may not think that you have a story, let alone an interesting one. That’s your first mistake. The second is to not use a story because of that. So let me put you straight:
Your experience of the world is different to everyone else’s, and therefore will have an inherent interest to them. You might think that your job isn’t interesting for other people, but the more different it is, the better. I recently worked with an accountant who specialised in auditing, who thought that their role would be tedious to describe to others. I pointed out that the possibility of fraud being discovered and the way in which they’re treated (no-one likes the auditors visiting, apparently) are both great elements for stories.
If you can tap into any emotions and/or any of the senses, it’s likely to resonate with your audience. For example:
- there was a chill of intimidation you hadn’t felt since being bullied at school.
- you really enjoyed the flavour of the roast potatoes because it reminded you of your Mother’s cooking.
Your story doesn’t have to be a hero’s journey or an epic quest for redemption; it can be simple, personal and emotional.
And in the End…
Stories are the way that our species enjoys communicating. Use them properly and you’ll connect in a way that will blow everyone else away. The best slides or best delivery won’t beat a good story.
Check out Bobette Buster’s short but packed story manual ‘Do/Story’.