Heroes do not quit, so the only true failure is the failure to get up, and it proves to me that compelling heroes and purposeful stories lurk in every corner of our lives, ready for the telling.
Nothing grabs our attention faster than the need to know what happens next.
Pause for a moment, and if no one fills in the silence with an opinion, continue with your story.
In retrospect, I realize our transformation actually began the moment he said “story.” That word was like a bell that compelled us to listen up. We’d all been conditioned since childhood to expect that a story would deliver a mental reward, and this expectation held us captive.– “Stories put all the key facts into an emotional context,” The information in a story does not just sit there as it would in a logical proposition. Instead, it’s built to create suspense.” And the building blocks of all compelling stories, whether they’re told in person, in the pages of a book, or via actors on a screen or monitor, are challenge, struggle, and resolution.
Here, then, is how you build a story: First … get your listeners’ attention with an unexpected challenge or question. Next … give your listeners an emotional experience by narrating the struggle to overcome that challenge or to find the answer to the opening question. Finally … galvanize your listeners’ response with an eye- opening resolution that calls them to action. I aimed for his head and wallet instead of his heart and that was a strategic suicide.
The more we desire something, the greater our fear of not achieving it.
Business audiences actually will trust a teller who acknowledges his own human frailty more than they would if he’d pretended to be some sort of executive god who could do no wrong.
By being willing to risk failure in the pursuit of success, we lose some financial capital, but we pay the intellectual capital forward. Our goal is not to fail intentionally, or to pretend we enjoy failure, but it is to be willing to fail in the pursuit of greatness.
I was convinced that the skills of story listening and story telling are coded deep in our DNA.
Because humans are meaning- seeking creatures. It’s not just about taking in information. We cannot remember anything without giving meaning to it.
Relationships are the foundation stones of every career. And relationships are fundamentally emotional and intuitive connections forged through the two-way exchange of empathy.
He was talking about energy and excitement that the sta would transmit to customers
Purposeful story telling is not show business, it’s good business.
An African saying: IF THE LION DOES NOT TELL HIS STORY, THE HUNTER WILL.
Ironically, the better someone knows you, the harder you may have to prepare to prove your authenticity.-
Boredom occurs when you fail to make the other person interesting.
If only we’d prepared properly and been interested instead of trying to be interesting, and honoured his story with a proposition that aligned with it, we might have had a different outcome.
The flip side of interests are prejudices. One attracts, the other repels. The teller who ignores audience prejudices is asking for disaster.
Getting to know your audience also means figuring out the place where they will be most receptive to your tell. Inevitably, the context in which you tell a story colours the story you tell. The trick is to use that colour to your advantage.
To tell a great story, make preparation your partner. Demonstrate authenticity and congruence; they’re the rails on which your story rides. Show you have got skin in the game. Aim for the heart of your goal, emotionalize your offering.
Be interested in what interests your listeners, and they will find your story interesting and your goal compelling. Remember, the context in which you tell your story colours the story you tell. Be dialled in; your listener’s prejudices can hijack even your best story.
Simply stated, your hero is the person, place, product, or brand that enables your audience to feel the change your story promises. Remember, business stories, just like novels and movies, consist of three parts: the challenge, the struggle, and the resolution. And the hero is the character who faces the challenge and fights through to the resolution.
And therein lies the moral of the story for other purposeful tellers who dare to cast themselves as heroes. True teller-heroes are generous as well as powerful. They never lose sight of what is in their story for their audience. And they only cast themselves as heroes if they know they can deliver.
You cannot win people’s hearts by horrifying them. Very quickly, they will turn away to protect themselves.
By moving the listener to feel like the hero at the end of the story, your telling can supply the needed motivation to push past the listener’s own reluctance.
If you want them to step up and take what they will perceive as a risk, you may need to cloak them in the hero’s role.
When you narrate an event that has actually happened to you, it is natural to infuse your telling with the emotional highs, lows, and inflections you felt at the time, whether you were the hero or a secondary participant in that drama. Your personal feeling will ignite your listeners’ empathy and carry them along on your emotional journey.
Everybody faces challenges and struggles to resolve them. In other words, we all live stories every single day. If you pay attention to these experiences and are good at remembering not only what happened but also what it meant to you, then you are constantly stockpiling prime story content. But first hand experience is not your only source. Purposeful stories also can be distilled from people you have observed or events that you have witnessed, even if you did not directly play a role in them
Humour feeds on the paradoxes of life.
No matter how much money is exchanged, the soul of the art always belongs more to the artist who created it than it does to the collector. Stories can bridge the gap.
A purposeful story is a call to action—be sure to make your call. A story without structure leaves your goal unfulfilled.… Craft the beginning to shine the light on your challenge or problem. Shape the middle around the struggle to meet that challenge. End with a resolution that ignites in the listener your call to action. Get your audience to step into your hero’s shoes. Lead from the heart, not the head. Employ the element of surprise. Successful stories turn “me” to “we”—align your interests! Be sure your story tells what’s in it for them. You’re not done till they say, “Ahha! I got it!”
I was convinced that the skills of story listening and story telling are coded deep in our DNA. Indigenous people used mythology as information technology. They thought in stories. They remembered through stories. They communicated through stories. And they related through stories.
You’re pre-wired for story, but you must turn it on! The marketplace wants stories, so give them what they want. Stories make facts and figures memorable, resonant, and actionable. Ignite empathy in the room and face-to-face, and your audience will not just hear you, they will feel you! Purposeful story telling is not show business, it’s good business. They feel like active participants, rather than passengers, in your story. So that your audience can own it, act on it, and tell it forward.
All show business is interactive. So is the art of the tell. “No presenter’s mouth can move as fast as the audience’s eyes, as soon as the presenter becomes a one-way broadcaster, there is no return feed. There is no loop; there is no synchronicity….The presenter is the story. In other words, whatever your business, when it is time to tell your story, it is showtime.
Since Hollywood operates by the golden rule, he who has the gold makes the rules.
Athletes are not the only ones who perform exercises to get themselves in state before going onto the game field. So do actors and performers, although their game field is the stage. And so do masters of the art of the tell, whose game field is wherever they tell their story. Getting in state is not just a mental, emotional, or physical process; it is all three. It involves focusing your whole being on your intent to achieve your purpose. This state is vital to the art of the tell because your intention is actually what signals listeners to pay attention to you.
Intention can speak louder than words. Humans begin reading each other’s intentions as soon as they are physically close enough to see, hear, and smell each other. That means there are no secrets in the art of the tell, only unspoken words.
The brain knows in eighty milliseconds the gender of a person while we only ‘see’ the person at five hundred milliseconds. We receive this information through a system in the brain that functions as a constant surveillance system, scanning the environment for signs of potential trouble or danger. In addition to relaying gender, this ancient survival system tells us, as soon as we set eyes on another person, whether that individual is friend or foe, authentic or fake, trustworthy or dangerous. If we sense the other person is phony or distracted, we will automatically put up our defences, either by tuning out entirely or listening with suspicion. If we see a frown or cannot meet the other person’s gaze, our guard goes up and we feel anxiety, anticipating emotional attack or rejection. But if the other person smiles and looks directly into our eyes, we begin to relax and feel more trusting. Most of this signalling occurs without our even being aware of it. “Intuition,” Marcus is the brain knowing what consciousness later sees.”
All this means that techniques to get in state need to be performed before you face your audience. Relax your body and control your breath, since this is the vehicle on which your story will ride. Review your story and goals. Focus on the emotions you intend to move in your audience. Also add a quick self-check to avoid inadvertent distractions or interruptions. You do not want a nervous falsetto, garlic on your breath, or an ink stain on your shirt to divert your audience from getting your story and its call to action! But above all, train both your body and mind on your clear intention to succeed.
Great aerialist Karl Wallenda, patriarch of the Flying Wallendas, who’d performed death-defying feats on the high wire for more than fifty years before tragically falling to his death at age seventy-one, he personally supervised the attachment of the guy wires, which he’d never done before. A clear take-away from this story is that what you focus on grows.
Like intention, authenticity and energy cannot be faked. If you are telling a story you do not believe in, your audience will sense it instantly. They will feel it and act on that feeling, even if they cannot justify their feeling in words. The good news is that they will pick up just as instantly on your genuine enthusiasm and conviction. You do not need to stand on your head or shout or sing to show that your passion is real. You just need to let yourself feel it instead of suppressing it. Authentic energy is contagious. If your story truly excites you, and you let that excitement show, it will resonate with your audience.
Energy suckers are the people who are focused only on themselves, who do not really care what they are offering, who have no passion, no zest, and whose affect, voice, and presentation drain energy from everyone around them. Energy is transmitted by the attitude of your body as well as your mind. If you slouch in your chair or lean on your podium, that tells your audience you are tired—maybe too tired to tell them a story of value. Standing or sitting up straight and looking your audience in the eye, on the other hand, tells them that you’re alert, aware, and excited about the story you are about to tell. That energy transmits an unspoken promise that you can excite them, too.
Vulnerability is one of the most under-appreciated assets in business today. Everyone has something in common with every other person. And you will not find those similarities if you do not open up and expose your interests and concerns, allowing others to do likewise.
It is far easier to persevere when someone else tells you no than when you start telling yourself you cannot or should not keep going.
I will mentally review my goals, story, the interests of my audience, and the reaction I intend to elicit, and by reassuring myself that I believe in the truth of the story I am about to tell and the merit of my call to action, I can almost always convert my fear into momentum.
Needless to say, “No rejection is fatal until the writer walks away from the battle, leaving his dreams and goals behind.” I have learned that it’s wise, before saying word one, to assess “conditions on the ground” and make sure that you have a fighting chance of delivering your call to action
Research has shown that most of us make decisions in an emotional manner and then find an intellectual alibi to justify them.
Make eye contact. Smile to put your audience at ease. If appropriate, shake hands. Animate your voice, raising and lowering it as an actor might. Sometimes you can capture attention by lowering your voice so your audience is forced to lean in and listen harder. Sometimes a stretch of silence, especially after you have made an important point, will speak louder than words. But follow your listeners’ signals. With rare exceptions, if you pay attention to them, they will pay attention to you
When your audience asks a question, it is not a sign that you are failing to tell your story well. It means you are telling it so well you have aroused their curiosity. Some tellers balk at questions for fear of being drawn off track. Indeed, tangents can be perilous in the art of the tell, but as the teller, you always have the power to steer your story back in the right direction. If an irrelevant question pops up, promise to get back to it later (and make sure you do).
Scientists tell us that words account for only the smallest part of human communication. The majority is non-verbal, more than half based on what people see and more than a third transmitted through tone of voice. In other words, we do a lot of talking through our senses. The best tellers make a point of telling their stories through both verbal and non-verbal engagement because they know that the more the audience feels the story in their bodies, the better they will remember it. And I am a believer because I was once told just such a physical story, which I still remember vividly thirty years later.
Muhammad Ali’s tell once had brought us inside the experience of boxing and made us feel that winning takes more than just punching.
As a practitioner of the art of the tell, you must listen with all your senses, gauging your audience’s emotions, attention, and interest—moment to moment. The more actively and empathetically you listen, the more you will involve your audience in your tell. And the more engaged they feel in your story, the more likely they will be to heed its call to action.
Tellers must have acute sensitivity to all of their audience’s responses and adjust their story and its telling as needed to prevent confusion, impatience, or boredom.
The meanings we give our stories control our entire lives. Big problems start with little thoughts. And great achievements also start with little thoughts
Quite frankly, most businesspeople fail to listen actively and probe intelligently because they don’t shut up long enough to do so. As a highly gregarious and outgoing person myself, I realized that, with all my talking, I was guilty on occasion of failing to listen and so missed out on chances to reshape my story for the better. The difference is being interested rather than trying to be interesting. It is meant the difference between merely hitting the target and repeatedly hitting the bull’s-eye.
Get yourself into state; it is about attitude, not aptitude. Bring high energy—the catalyst for great story telling. Your listeners may be one or many, but they are always an audience, and audiences expect experiences. Demonstrate vulnerability; it is not a liability, it is an asset. Persist, persist, persist to turn “no” into “on.” Be aware that your body is talking before your tongue moves. Capture your audience’s attention first, fast, and foremost. Be interactive—engage your audience’s senses early and often. Arouse your listener’s curiosity. Choose carefully the props, tools, and resources that support your tell. Listen actively; it is a dialogue, not a monologue. Be ready and willing to drop your script when the situation calls for it—and it always calls for it. Surrender control and proprietorship of your story; your audience has to own it to tell it forward.
If you can find a way to activate your story so that it benefits others, they will go forth and tell your story for you. And a story that others tell virally on your behalf; especially if they feel they own it and have helped to shape and enliven it; is much more likely to become a never-ending story than one only you tell about or for yourself
The key to establishing and sustaining a never-ending story is a constant proliferation of tellers who will preserve the essential elements of the original story even as they give that story their own personal thrust. If you want to turn your story into a never-ending story, then, the first priority is to identify the essential elements in your story. Keep your ears open for audiences who seem to be clearly echoing the essence of your story, and multiply that echo effect by encouraging these audiences to retell your story in their own voice and through their own experience. Whether the vehicle for this retelling is home selling, casual word of mouth, social networking, or viral technology, the bottom line is always the same: You want your story to live through its most enthusiastic audience.
We live at such a pace right now that even the strongest story has to change to endure. As the Native American saying goes, “It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.” Some of those voices will tell about the pain and some will tell about the glory….If you hold the story too tight or too close, you’ll lose the invaluable factor of serendipity.”
Empower your audience to tell your story forward. Create a multiplier effect. Find the core audience who can be apostles for your message and encourage them to tell your story through the power of their own words. In the face of adversity, be willing to recast your story through the lens of your listeners’ new needs while remaining authentic to your story’s core elements. Legacy stories are powerful and enduring. Abandon them at your peril.
Clans that had been bent on slaughtering each other just a generation or two ago now demonstrate their prowess and power in mock battles.
We are wired to constantly read one another’s “micro-expressions”— involuntary facial expressions that can occur as fast as one twenty-fifth of a second. These microscopic expressions signal the seven universal emotions—disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise, and contempt. Because they are encoded in our facial muscles, these signals are very difficult, if not impossible, to fake, and we rely on them heavily in high-stakes situations such as business negotiations.