In recent years, much has been written about the power of stories in speeches and selling. The power of stories is indisputable in persuasive situations. Statistics are prevalent to back up this idea.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, most presenters still don’t effectively use stories. Why?
One reason can be found in the last sentence of the first paragraph of this post. Re-read the line:
Statistics are prevalent to back up this idea.
Statistics. Numbers. Data. Far too many speakers (and salespeople) still inundate audiences and prospective clients with facts and figures. This information is turning off their brains.
In his great book, ‘Story-Based Selling: Create, Connect and Close,’ my friend Jeff Bloomfield discusses science that proves the human brain is not ‘wired’ to react to traditional presentations – those based on logic and data. This style of communicating literally shuts off the emotional parts of the brain. These are the areas that compel people to buy whatever product, service or idea you are selling.
Additionally, this science reveals the secret to selling more effectively – appeal to the right side of the brain. Presentations that are story-based – with no statistics – are remembered up to 10 times more frequently, and with more detail.
I know! I know! I just snuck a number in on you. But, to be fair, I mentioned stories first, right?
Stories appeal to the ‘root’ brain – the emotional part that creates an emotional connection between people. There are chemicals in the brain that are released when you hear a well-told story. These chemicals create deeper levels of trust within the listener. This means they are more likely to hear your points, and more likely to buy whatever you are selling.
On the other hand, data and statistics trigger chemicals which increase stress, and interfere with learning and memory. This not only makes others quickly forget what you’ve said, but begins to build a barrier between you and them. At some level of their consciousness, they are categorizing you as “just like everybody else.”
The human brain is a powerful engine that you can either quickly get in synch with, or quickly disconnect from. Using traditional, fact-based methods of selling your ideas doesn’t mean you can’t sell; it simply makes the process of persuading others a lot more difficult. Why do this to yourself, and the people to whom you present?
If you had a tool that would enable you to more quickly bond with others, gain their trust faster and at a deeper level, and increase your odds of creating successful sales, I’m betting you’d use it.
That tool is available. It’s called Storytelling. Craft and deliver memorable stories. Your speeches and presentations will persuade more people, positively impact lives, and your talks will be more enjoyable than ever.