Have you ever been captivated by a story? So immersed that you felt like you were actually there? On a recent road trip with my middle school sons, I happened upon a story on the radio that captured us all.
The story transported us — as humans, our brains are conditioned to listen to stories. Throughout history, information has been shared orally. Stories can be engaging and interesting to listen to, but they’re also powerful ways to convey information. People remember stories.
When you’re preparing for your next meeting, consider including a story. If you have extraordinary data that you’d like to present, think of the detail behind the numbers. Can you weave a narrative for your audience rather than reciting from a spreadsheet? If you need to introduce yourself to a new group of people, instead of rattling off your resume, think of a short story that will demonstrate a little bit about who you are and what’s important to you.
Our model for storytelling provides a few steps to get you started:
- What’s your goal? What are you trying to accomplish? Be clear about your goal when you begin to choose a story.
- Think of the story themes to choose from. Scroll through the repertoire of experiences in your life and recall events that will demonstrate your message.
- Consider the impact: What will the audience remember? How will they feel? Will you inspire action? Determine the outcome you hope to achieve.
Once you’ve outlined your goal, chosen a theme, and determined an impact, map your story using the Story Board Method. Practice it. Do a dry run with a colleague. And when you’re ready, try incorporating your story into your next meeting, the response may surprise you.
Dean Brenner (C’91) is a recognized expert in persuasive communication, and is the founder and president of The Latimer Group, an executive coaching and training firm that that specializes in creating powerful communication skills. Dean and his colleagues offer coaching and training to a global client list of Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Dean has written two books on effective communication, and is currently working on his third. Dean lives in Connecticut with his family. To learn more about Dean and The Latimer Group, please visit TheLatimerGroup.com.