3 Reasons Storytelling Leads To Success And How To Be Great At It

Think about the last time you had a conversation with someone in your personal or professional life where you experienced negative feelings about the interaction. Was your conversation partner pushing their agenda with a hard sell or mastering the art of storytelling?


Why The Hard Sell Is Annoying


When I was contemplating joining a new fitness studio, the sales associate approached me immediately after my first complimentary class to explain the membership/class options and asked me which option I would like to select. She had already filled out the membership form with my information from my waiver on my behalf and was instructing me to sign, date, and give her my credit card. As I attempted to assert that I was “going to think about it” I was interrupted by her further attempts to close. For someone like me who loves making decisions and plans to have things to look forward to, when I do consciously choose to be mindful and take pause to think about a decision, pushing me to decide immediately came off as rude and disrespectful. I felt myself become jaded and walked out without picking up the pen. For sales professionals, following up is fantastic; just ensure you are respecting the customer’s wishes if they requested some time.

What Makes Storytelling Special

It creates empathy
When you tell a story your audience gets to experience your endeavor for themselves. The more suspense or details you offer, the better chance your listeners have of being able to understand you and their brain activity patterns will match yours. Your audience figuratively sits next to you and experiences everything you experienced in your tale. Thus, with mutual understanding and brain synchronicity comes empathy.

It releases your imagination

There are millions of stories we read online and hear IRL every day. Get creative with yours. Have fun recanting your sagas. Make metaphors to offer your listeners an escape from boring black and white facts. Tap into your spirit to strengthen the connection with your conversation partner.

It makes you memorable

In the book OPEN by J. R. Moehringer in collaboration with Andre Agassi, we experience a candid account of the pro tennis athlete’s grit and triumphs. I grew up playing tennis, watching Agassi, and aspiring to have an “Agassi backhand.” I never knew the details of his internal struggle until I read his memoir, and now I feel as if I will remember his incredible life story forever. In your own life, when you share an account that inspires people and makes them feel hopeful, they will want to spend more time with you. In my industry (marketing), we are professional storytellers, communicating the narratives of our beloved brands. To be successful in virtually any industry today, outstanding business leaders know they must first master the art of storytelling.

What’s your story? Fell free to share with me on Facebook or twitter.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou


Images:  Salesman Aaron Tang  Pen and Note Bruce Guenter


Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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