I heard an excellent presentation today by Matthew Dicks, the author of Storyworthy.
Mr. Dicks, who is a speaker, elementary school teacher and consultant to corporations like Slack and Amazon, is helping business representatives relate better with their customers with personal interest stories.
Many corporate presentations consist of Powerpoint slide decks of statistics and charts that are promptly forgotten by the audience. They certainly aren’t very engaging.
“Who remembers a bar graph?”
Instead, tell a personal interest story that can be used as a metaphor for the situation that you’re dealing with.
For example, “I have a family with my wife, four children, and myself. Each one of us likes a different type of apple. When I go to the grocery store, I pay a little more to buy the favorite apple of each family member.”
“Similarly, you need different types of pipes for different purposes in your factory. Your current supplier only provides one type of pipe, that you have been adapting to your different purposes. Can you see how, like my buying different apples for each family member, it makes sense to pay us a little more to provide pipes that are customized for your different purposes?”
People who use these personal interest stories often find that the customer not only relates to them for understanding how to solve their business problem, but also relates to the business representative as a human being.
Mr. Dicks suggests that each of us should pay more attention to what is happening in our lives. Each evening, spend a few minutes to reflect about anything, no matter how small, that we could tell someone else about as a story, and make notes about the event to help remember it later.
He shared a memory about when he took his young son boogie boarding for the first time. His son begged him to do some boogie boarding, too. The water was ice cold. His first response was, “No.” Then he thought again and decided to suffer a little to share this experience with his son. He knew his son might remember this experience the rest of his life.
Capture these moments in your life as stories to communicate more effectively with your friends, family and customers in a way they’ll remember, and enrich your own life.