Friday, December 24, 2010

Remember the Stories You Hear

It’s likely you will be with family over the holidays.

Great times. Reunions. Happiness. Tears of sadness and joy. Great food. Gifts. People you love. People you kind of love.

During the Christmas season, families will gather and talk about old times. Growing up, vacations, past holidays. They all start out, “Remember the time that…” and they go on to tell a funny or poignant story. These stories can be gold for you.

In your presentations and meetings, telling and exchanging stories should be at the core of rapport, relationship building, and creating a learning atmosphere.

These golden lessons and stories are all around you, and many of them fit your leadership situations, and relationship-building process. Real stories authenticate you. They make you more human, more approachable, more relatable, and even (if the story is right) more trustworthy.

Here are some strategies and details of story collecting by master sales trainer Jeffery Gitomer; the full article is here.
  • Get the stories rolling - start by asking everyone to tell their most memorable story.
  • Listen with the intent to understand (this means don’t interrupt) - listen for incidents where a lesson was learned; take notes – you will never remember everything without taking notes
  • As the stories are being told, listen for the lessons behind the endings
  • Often the lessons are the result of something extreme
Once you have the story, and can see how it can fit into your style and delivery, then it’s time to convert it to your unique need in a presentation:
  • Get the story to fit into your presentation - to overcome an objection or create common ground
  • When retelling the story, keep it short and sweet – 1 or 2 minutes if you’re telling it one-on-one; 2 or 3minutes if you’re telling it to a group
  • Don’t set it up, just tell it
  • Tell it at the right moment – you’ll know – don’t force it
  • Put passion into it
  • Make your point at the end, not at the beginning
The secret to storytelling is your enthusiasm and passion. If you’re talking to one, or one hundred and one, each person must feel like you’re telling it for the first time, even though you may have told it 100 times before. The passion of your conveyance will lead to the emotion of their response and your call to action.

Stories are yours – no one else can tell them.

How will you go listening for stories this Christmas?

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