How to Tell A Story

storytellingThese days, you cannot hope to keep an audience listening to you if you don’t include stories. Businesses are full of stories; how the product was designed, how the founders started, what the market wants ….. You just have to know how to tell it. Here is the essential guide.

  1. Plan your story starting with the takeaway message. Think about what’s important to the audience. The ending is the most important point of the story. This is the message we want to deliver, and the one that will linger with the audience.
  1. Keep your stories short for the workplace. Three to five minutes long is about what people can digest in today’s ADD world.
  1. Good stories are about challenge or conflict. Without these elements, stories aren’t very interesting. The compelling part of a story is how people deal with conflict–-so start with the people and the conflict.
  1. Think about your story like a movie. Imagine you are screenwriter with a goal to get your message across. The story has to have a beginning, middle, and end
  1. Start with a person and his challenge, and intensify human interest by adding descriptions of time, place, and people with their emotions.
  1. Be creative. A good story always has ups and downs, so “arc” the story. Pull people along, and introduce tension, just like in a fairy tale. (“From out of nowhere, the wolf jumps onto the path…”)
  1. Intensify the story with vivid language and intonation. Tap into people’s emotions with language. Use metaphors, idioms, and parables that have emotional associations.

Most of us have not told stories in front of an audience since English class in high school. So you will need to practice.

 

It’s all in the Story….

You can get over both information and experience in a more compelling way if you turn it into a story.Watching skilled speakers will show you how that works on you as a listener.

Here are the basic tips to get you started.

1. Don’t report information. Rather turn it into a story.

Here’s an example.

A report would tell us that Alan Smith is the CEO of an internet security startup, while a story might say with “Alan was sitting in a college seminar one day when he saw the gap in the market that his startup was going to fill.”
If you feel you need to stay with a report format a possible solution is to combine it.
This may be made up of both a factual report and story elements :
• Narrative start – an introductory story
• Factual details – the report
• Narrative End – go back to the story .

2. Collect telling details.

Give the details of the scene. Imagine you are describing the first few shots of a movie. Say wht you saw, heard, felt.

“I had just arrived in the office on Friday morning on a boiling day in August at the end of a very difficult week when I first saw the email that we were to go through another reorganization. I was feeling …..”

3. Pick out the human angle or an interesting facet.

“I was talking to a client last week who told us that this solution means he has more time to volunteer for the community project the company is doing.”

4. Generate suspense with a question or a dilemma.

Which is more compelling?

We were wondering when to introduce localized versions of the product.
OR
Within months IT people from around the world were getting in touch with us to ask us when it would be available in Indian, Chinese, so the question is how do we approach those markets….”

5. Give your story a human voice.

Try and make the language you use sound like they came from a real person.
Quote them directly (the actual words they said) rather than indirectly.
Compare:
Jane told us that the program was good.
OR
I bumped into Jane on the way to lunch last week and she said “Great work. The program is exactly what we want.”

6. Use rich and vibrant language

Enjoy putting together your stories and express yourself in the most interesting and textured way possible.

Here is a good example of that which uses an interesting combination of lyrical and everyday language.

Bono: Introduction The Book of Psalms ( Pocket Canons)
At the age of 12, I was a fan of David. He felt familiar, like a pop star could feel familiar. The words of the psalms were as poetic as they were religious, and he was a star. Before David could fulfil the prophecy and become the king of Israel, he had to take quite a beating. He was forced into exile and ended up in a cave in some no-name border town facing the collapse of his ego and abandonment by God. But this is where the soap opera got interesting. This is where David was said to have composed his first psalm — a blues. That’s what a lot of the psalms feel like to me, the blues. Man shouting at God.

How to: Be A Great Boothman

BOOTHMANSHIP CHECKLIST

Meeting people at exhibitions or trade shows on your company booth is a fantastic opportunity to be in contact with customers and others.

You are the company for booth visitors. Exhibition visitors will remember the booth staff’s performance, actions and interaction which then becomes part of your brand

BODY LANGUAGE
OPEN & WELCOMING
POSTURE
FACIAL EXPRESSION
SALESMANSHIP         
ENTHUSIASM
PERSUASIVENESS
LISTENING SKILLS
ON MESSAGE
CLOSES SALE
COMMUNICATION STYLE
CONVERSATION MANAGEMENT
SERVICE ORIENTED SPEECH
MATCHING STYLE
CROSSCULTURAL TUNING
TASK – RELATIONSHIP
DIRECTNESS
RESPECT FOR STATUS

Connecting With People – 4.74 degrees of separation?

The news from Facebook and the University of Milan research is that the famous “six degrees of separation” is now down to 4.47 or even less.
That is fine on the internet where connections are obvious but what does that mean for real life?

We believe it is only by talking to people that you can find out about those connections. This is  a good reason for more small talk – call it “connecting talk”.

Here are our guidelines for great small talk that leads to bigger things.

1. Before you meet new people come up with 2 or 3 three things to talk about as well as 3 general questions that will get others talking. Try to remember things about the people you have met before.
2. Be the first to say “Hello.” If you’re not sure the other person will remember you, offer your name first to make things smoother. For example, “Dan? David Green — good to see you again.”
3. Make an extra effort to remember names.
4. Watch your body language. People who look ill at ease make others uncomfortable. Act confident and comfortable, even when you’re not.
5. Get the other person talking by leading with a statement regarding the event or location and then asking a related open-ended question. For example, “Attendance looks higher than last year, how long have you been coming to these conferences?”
6. Stay focused on your conversational partner by actively listening and giving feedback. Maintain eye contact. Never glance around the room while they are talking to you. To be seen looking for someone   “better “ to talk to is very insulting.
7. Stay away from negative or controversial topics .
8. Have something interesting to contribute. Keep up an interest in (non-controversial) news and start conversations based on that.   You could start with
“What do you think of …?”       “Have you heard …?”      ”What is your view on …?”
9. Before joining another group or entering into a conversation that’s already in progress, observe and listen. You don’t want to interrupt the dynamic or butt in.
10. Do not tell long-winded stories or give a lot of detail in casual conversation.
11. Have a few exit lines ready so that you can both gracefully move on.
For example, “I need to check in with a colleague over there,” or “ Well, enjoy the evening” or  you can offer to refresh their drink.

 

How To: Be A Good Listener – Active Listening

Active Listening requires that you focus on the other person.

You help them feel heard using PAC:

PAC

P = Probe and Paraphrase

A = Acknowledge and Analyze

C = Clarify actions/solutions

Probe and Paraphrase

Show the person that you are interested in what they have to say.

Encourage the speaker with short verbal responses.

Avoid interrupting, making judgments, or changing the subject.

Ask open-ended questions.

Use questions to keep the conversation on track.

Restate what you think you heard.

 

Acknowledge and Analyze

Acknowledge and analyze problems and issues.

Ensure that you and the speaker are in agreement.

Acknowledge the speaker’s emotions.

  

Clarify and Confirm Actions and Solutions

Good listeners always seek clarification and confirmation of whatever

agreements have been reached. This process ensures that each person is “on

the same page.”

Listening Responses:

 Non-verbal:

To communicate understanding, interest, and acceptance

Look into the speaker’s eyes.

  • Nod approvingly.
  • Lean toward the speaker slightly.

 Paraphrase:

  • “As I understand it …”
  • “What you’re saying is …”
  • “If I could summarize …”

 

Reflect the implication:

  • “Would that mean that …”
  • Are you saying that …”
  • “Would that help with …”

 Invite contributions:

  • “What happened then?”
  • “Can you give me an example?”
  • “Tell me more about…”

 Reflect feelings:

  • “If that happened to me, I’d be upset …”
  • “How did that make you feel?”
  • “I suppose that must make you annoyed.”
  • “That must have been satisfying.”

How To: Do Small Talk

In an age of too much technology, Small Talk is becoming a lost art. Good small talk starts with a real interest in other people and you must be willing to connect. But small talk can be the beginning of great things. 

1. As you prepare for a meeting or event, come up with 2 or 3 three things to talk about as well as 3 general questions that will get others talking. Try to remember things about the people you have met before.
2. Be the first to say “Hello.” If you’re not sure the other person will remember you, offer your name first to make things smoother. For example, “Dan? David Green — good to see you again.” .
3. Make an extra effort to remember names.
4. Watch your body language. People who look ill at ease make others uncomfortable. Act confident and comfortable, even when you’re not.
5. Get the other person talking by leading with a statement regarding the event or location and then asking a related open-ended question. For example, “Attendance looks higher than last year, how long have you been coming to these conferences?”
6. Stay focused on your conversational partner by actively listening and giving feedback. Maintain eye contact. Never glance around the room while they are talking to you. To be seen looking for someone   “better “ to talk to is very insulting.
7. Stay away from negative or controversial topics .
8. Have something interesting to contribute. Keep up an interest in (non-controversial) news and start conversations based on that.   You could start with
“What do you think of …?”       “Have you heard …?”      “What is your view on …?”
9. Before joining another group or entering into a conversation that’s already in progress, observe and listen. You don’t want to interrupt the dynamic or butt in.
10. Do not tell long-winded stories or give a lot of detail in casual conversation.
11. Have a few exit lines ready so that you can both gracefully move on. For example, “I need to check in with a colleague over there,” or “ Well, enjoy the evening” or  you can offer to refresh their drink.