The Power of Stories

Published on January 20, 2011 by Annetta Wilson

We can count on certain things when groups of people get together.  It doesn't matter if it's a business gathering, family gathering or a party with friends.  Someone is going to tell stories.

Those stories usually recount good times from the past, triumphs over difficult times and a few sentimental recollections about people we wish were still here.

We love stories.  Many of us grew up with them, told them to our children, listened to elders tell the same one every year at family reunion or holiday times, relived them at class reunions or annual business events.  They're a part of who we are.

Are you telling yours? You have at least one, and someone can learn from it.

Stories help us make a point when being direct could cause problems.

Stories connect us when we believe we have nothing in common.

Stories convince us to buy when a hard sales pitch would turn us off.

Stories are how we keep our history alive.

Most sales and marketing professionals will tell you that 'facts' tell but 'stories' sell.

Some of the most powerful advertising campaigns have moved mountains of  products and services through stories.

Case in point: the credit card commercial about a man and his father tracing their family roots back to a foreign country.  The commercial shows them having fun, bonding and meeting wonderful people, only to find later that they're in the wrong country!  The problem is happily solved when they pull out the trusty credit card and head off to a new adventure.

What's the message?  Knowing your history, spending precious time with a parent, having fun even if you're in the wrong place.

It makes us feel good and it works.  You have the power to do the same thing.

What is your product or service?  What do you do that no one else can?  Whose hero are you?  All of those things have stories attached to them.  Start telling them!

Tip: If you have a little trouble getting started, think about the last time someone thanked you for something you did or complimented you on a job well done.  What were they referring to?  There's a story there.

Tip: During holidays or family gatherings find something to recall about the last time you were with this same group of people that made it memorable.

Tip: At business functions, recall the successes of the year.  Be specific with the details about who played a part or how the team came together.

Most importantly, if there's someone who made your year special, tell him or her in detail what that act of kindness, generosity, compassion or thoughtfulness meant to you.

Knowing the difference we made in someone's life is a story we usually don't mind hearing over and over again hence  The Power of Stories.

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3 Responses

  1. Annetta

    Find out how your 'story' can get you media exposure on my free teleclass, June 30, 2011 at 8pm EDT (5pm PST).

    It's called, '7 Secrets to Becoming a Media Magnet. How to Get Media Attention and Create a Rush of Your Ideal Clients!'

    Get the details here: http://www.SpeakWithEase.com/magnetcall

  2. Melissa Harris

    Storytelling is as old as, well .... In the beginning. Before pre-cipher, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Cherokee syllabary, or any of the attested written languages, the oral tradition kept history. Still, every family reunion or friend’s social gathering, stories are told. Some details appear more relevant at the telling, others not until much later. However, once the hearer takes the time, processing builds associative perception. Today, we enhance with visual aids, embedded words, story lines, and technical savvy. But, I still love the story that gives me liberty to envision my imagination. Funny how time more clearly reveals ancient way wisdom.

    And yes, I love to tell my authentic stories.
    Life circle! I was writing about this same subject last night.

  3. Judith

    Annette,
    This is a delightful article. Thank you. Stories communicate because they conjure up images and emotions.
    was thinking about that this morning when I went out to feed our barnyard animals. For the 3rd straight week, the horse and donkey are refusing to adapt to change. We are asking them to enter the pasture from a different gate in the morning. But they still stand at the old gate, striking the ground with angry hooves because that gate is not being opened for them. It reminds me that "change is hard for all!"
    God bless!