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The Personal Touch: stories simply sell better

By Scott Flood

He was a successful engineer with a nagging problem. It haunted him during his commute, in the shower, and when his golden retriever woke him up at 3:00 a.m. for a quick trip outside. It involved a process that he knew could be improved. It gnawed at him until that Saturday afternoon. As he was mowing his lawn, the solution flashed through his brain. He left the mower in the middle of the yard and raced inside, where he began to sketch out the idea.

What was it? I don’t have a clue. The solution is completely fictional. The engineer, his lawn, his problem, and his lawnmower don’t exist. But you were captivated. The opening sentences drew you in, and the description of the process stoked your curiosity. Each line whetted your attention for the next step, and you couldn’t wait for the twist that would be revealed in the resolution.

All too often companies and organizations that want to share something with prospects and other stakeholders think the best way to do that is to present the facts in a straightforward manner. But the human brain absolutely loves stories. We’re hardwired to respond to them, thanks to centuries of evolution. Our ancestors shared what they knew by telling stories. When we were kids, a good story was one of the few things that could get us to focus for any length of time.

Stories are always more compelling than raw facts. Stories connect with the audience on an entirely different level and dramatically increase the likelihood that they’ll remember what’s important. When you share a story, you’re entertaining your audience as you inform them.

The next time you try to share a message, don’t make it sound like an ad or a sales pitch. Tell them a story, and you’ll capture their attention and convince them as they enjoy what you’re sharing. The fact that you’ve read this far proves it works with you.

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