How to use Business Storytelling to Persuade and Influence
Picture the scene …
You need to give a killer presentation next month; pitching a major proposal to your company’s shareholders. It’s a tough, discerning audience and you really want to make an impact.
You know the message you WANT to give, but it’s only going to have the outcome that you want if you deliver it well.
Let me start by saying that a PowerPoint full of graphs and charts just isn’t gonna cut it this time! Save those for the Boardroom.
You only have one chance to step up to this podium and you need to make it count.
If you really want to persuade and influence people – and move them to action, you have to be able to trigger their emotions and there is no better way to do that than to tell a compelling story.
Download the 6 Cs Effective Storytelling and use it as your storytelling blueprint. It will teach you step-by-step how to turn your message into a powerfully persuasive story.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper about how you can use business storytelling to persuade and influence:
Now you’re probably thinking “This isn’t for me, I’m not a storyteller.”
It’s one of the biggest challenges I hear when I coach leaders, that they don’t feel they have any stories to tell. Of course they do! They just don’t think they’re interesting enough because these events are happening to them every day, all the time. They may not be interesting to you anymore, but believe me, when you start with some context and add in some really interesting characters and emotions, that’s when the magic happens.
Keep a little note of interesting situations; struggles that end up in victory, failures that turn into success (or successes that turn into failures!), humble beginnings that end in a lasting legacy. These little ‘micro journeys’ that you go on as a leader are all fascinating and can be turned into powerful stories that will help get a simple message across.
Appeal to EMOTION
If you want to deliver a persuasive presentation, you need to pull on the heart strings of your audience. Emotions are the main motivator of belief and ACTION, and studies have shown that people make decisions largely based on emotional reasons.
Pathos is a communication technique which uses the manipulation of the emotions rather than valid logic to win an argument. You don’t need to look very far at the world’s greatest leaders to see how they are bringing Pathos into their presentations. Michelle Obama’s latest speech at the democratic convention is a great example of that. Starting by addressing the nation’s pain, then moving on to elicit feelings of disappointment, sorrow, distrust, and even anger by describing the current state of this nation.
Obama had her audience hooked, because she knew what they were going through and focused on this to draw her audience in.
Include a surprise
Studies show that surprise triggers the release of adrenaline in the brain that heightens memory formation. In 6 Cs of Effective Storytelling I talk about elevating the conflict little by little to build up the tension to the final surprise.
I call it the “Mall Escalator” method.
The technique of creating emotional escalation – plateau – escalation – plateau to create suspense.
Take the movie “Titanic” as an example, after the ship hits the iceberg, the conflict rises little by little, like the “Mall Escalator” way.
If the ship sinks as soon as she hits the iceberg, the story ends right there.
Build the tension slowly so the audience sit up and pay attention because they’re not sure what might happen at the end.
Give a compelling Call-to-Action
Every presentation needs a call-to-action – something you want your audience to do at the end. It might be to buy your book, invest in your business, sign-up to receive your research publication.
Give your audience a compelling reason to take action at the end and link it to your story. Perhaps it’s a challenge that they’re facing that the call-to-action is going to help solve. Make them really feel the pain. What are their lives going to be like if they DON’T take action? Weave that into your story.
Once you’ve downloaded the 6 Cs of Effective Storytelling you’ll want to take your learnings one step further and practice your speech on someone who knows WHAT WORKS. Book a 15-minute Consultation call with me and let me give you some clear pointers to powerfully influence your audience to take clear action.