Talking to People About Your Business: Business Storytelling

On 3/14, Tanya Smith and Tai Goodwin interviewed me on their BlogTalk Radio show, Your First 20 Clients for a segment, How to Talk to Strangers (and Friends) About Your New Business.

This blog post is the eighth in a series based on that show (I’m transcribing it one question at a time).

Today’s segment is from 43:08 to 47:03 in the hour-long audio of the show.

Tai: You have to talk a little bit about your book, because I can’t believe it, but this hour is running by.

Diane: Oh, my . . .

Tanya: We’re having so much fun!

Tai: Your book has a chapter on storytelling.

Diane: That was one of my favorite chapters!

Tai:  Tell us about that.  What does that [storytelling] have to do with networking at all?

Diane: It has a lot to do with networking.  If you just think about yourself—when you’re talking with someone that you enjoy talking to, often it’s because they tell stories.

People love to listen to stories.  It engages them.  In fact, in another book I really like called Made to Stick, the authors talk about  . . .  one of the brothers teaches a class at Stanford and he uses the class to make the point about the power of connecting storytelling and memory.

He has the students listen to some statistics on property crime rates and they each have to give a one minute presentation for or against the seriousness of non-violent crime.  After that, he distracts the class with a clip of a Monty Python movie.  Then he asks them to tell what they remember about the other students’ presentations.

Well, if students talked just statistics, one out of ten of those statistics get remembered.  But, if a student told a story, two out of three of the stories get remembered.

So, if you want to be remembered and if you want your message to be remembered–if you can deliver it with a story, rather than just dry facts—it’s much more likely to get remembered.

Tell a Story.  Be Remembered.

So, that would be probably the biggest thing.  People love to listen to stories.  It engages them and it connects with their memory.

Also, another factor in likeability . . . I just love reading . . . I recently also just finished the book, Click:  The Magic of Instant Connections. One of the ways that you can quickly click with someone is to show some vulnerability—that you’re not a perfect person (not that you want to come off to a stranger as somebody goofy).  As soon as you can, if you can reveal some little thing that shows that you’re human, that you have some vulnerabilities, that will make people feel closer because you’re trusting them with something.

Show vulnerability for quicker connections

Stories can reveal who you are as a person.  That will be one way that people can connect with you.

Finally, and this is probably the most common networking use, is that stories can tell about customer successes and also, you can share testimonials through stories.

Those are things that are going to be remembered.  If you’ve ever been to a networking meeting and you know how everybody  stands up and gives their one minute commercial—half the time you can’t remember from one person to the next what they said, unless they told a story and then you can see it like a movie in your mind.

So stories can be testimonials or about customer successes, too.

Tai: That’s really good.  I like the way you’re able to tie-in the testimonials and customer stories because so many people have these great stories about what they’ve done for their clients, but you don’t usually get to that until you dig and prod and find out.  But, if there’s a way to incorporate that into your everyday storytelling conversations with people, what a win for you in connecting with other people.

Diane: Oh, yeah. You’re talking about a benefit that your product or service was for somebody and it’s not just all about you.  It’s about their success– how what you do has helped someone else be successful.


Diane’s post on the book, Click:  The Magic of Instant Connections

Diane’s post on Storytelling


Small Talk Big Results:  Chit Chat Your Way to Success

Made to Stick:  Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Click:  The Magic of Instant Connections


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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