You’ll need more than just the facts to be persuasive. You’ll need to connect with feelings too. It’s been said for years and it is true that facts make us think and feelings make us act. Stories are about feelings. They’re about human experience, triumph and defeat, hubris and humility. Use a story to express emotion, capture the imagination and to teach or persuade.
Keep the most powerful part of your story and cut the rest. Here are 3 must-have elements to keep the value in a story and cut through the noise:
Feelings — A story is the relief from the data. Data gives us the numbers, the stats, the facts. Stories have the feelings, the powerful emotions that tug at us. To be a good storyteller, commit to depart from metrics into the emotional content.
Senses – A story relates a human experience. Experience it physically – with sensory perception. Remember the sound; the sight; the smell; the taste and the touch. When you recall the experience, remember how your senses perceived it. Help your listeners imagine the scene by relating the sensory details. Including details engages your audience and you don’t need a lot for a big effect.
Lesson – Answer the simple question “So what?” Don’t let your listeners wonder “What was the point of that?” A story should be entertaining but the point is not just to entertain – at least, not in business stories. The point is to persuade by illustrating your point. Every story needs to have a moral – and your listeners need to hear it. “Slow and steady wins the race,” for example. Aesop knew that. His fables have been part of our culture for hundreds of years. They endure because of they lessons they taught.
Stories can sharply cut through blah, blah, blah with those three key elements.