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The power of story

When you think about a story, what comes to mind? Perhaps an enjoyable summer read or maybe even a fable or fairytale. But a story doesn’t have to be confined to fiction. In fact, we tell stories every single day. How we see the past, how we envision the future – those are stories. How we convey a message, how we describe a product or service – those are stories as well. A pitch, a presentation, a plea – all stories. In fact, stories are a vital part of any business.

Connect with the power of story

Stories are one of the most powerful tools you can use to engage and connect with your audience. The power of story goes far beyond simply relaying facts and data and can be a highly effective tool to create customer loyalty. Stories emotionalize information. They give color and depth to otherwise bland material and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way. Those potential customers can then connect with your product, service and your entire business in a way that will make you talkably different.

Yet not all stories are equal. Simply telling a story that may elicit some emotion does not guarantee its efficacy. Tony sat down with his dear friend Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment,whose films have earned over $3 billion worldwide and 50 Academy Award nominations, to discuss the inherent power and ability a story has to shape the lives of others. Here’s what Peter had to say:

Creating a powerful story

So how do you harness the power of a good story? First, it’s about finding that emotional core of your message. As Peter says, emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable. Confused by what that means? Think about it. Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you – this is at the heart of the power of story.

Be authentic

The next step in utilizing the power of storytelling is that you must be authentic. People have a sensitive radar when it comes to those trying to manipulate or take advantage of a situation. In fact, rather than focusing on what you want to get out of telling the story, you must shift your focus to how you are going to serve your audience. It’s a pure intention, where you are truly focused on improving or enhancing their lives. When you use the power of story to empower others, you create a solid brand for your company based on value. Once you’ve established this, it’s easy to convert more customers into raving fans and achieve huge growth.

Peter goes on to give the advice: “Be interested, not interesting, or else the audience will never take it in.” Keeping in mind that the power of story is not a monologue but a dialogue helps you give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advocates – of your product, your service, your business, your brand. But you can’t get there unless you have a generous goal and listen actively. Remember, you must focus on sharing – not selling– or your customers will tune out.

Know when to stop

Lastly, you must know when to move on. Don’t just fire information at an audience if the environment isn’t right. Assess the situation. There is a right and a wrong time for every message and the power of story is not always appropriate. That may mean you will have to find a way to change your audience’s state before you can share the power of a good story – or it might mean you have to hold off altogether, because if they’re not in a prime state to listen to your story, then it’ll fall flat and fail to resonate within them.

Sometimes the way to get through to an audience is not by sharing a story – no matter how powerful it may be. In some circumstances, you need to first listen deeply to get to know your audience better. Once you understand what they truly need, you can craft your story to meet that need. Don’t think the power of storytelling will get you off the hook in the listening department, however – you need to recognize moments of opportunity where you can  keep your mouth shut and your ears open to learn about your customers’ stories and how you can best serve them, too.

Using the power of a good story for your business

How do you share your story with those who need and want to hear it? You don’t have to be a public speaker to utilize the power of storytelling. You can tell impactful stories through social media, at your weekly sales meetings, or when you present your products or services to potential customers. The power of story does not diminish if you have a small audience – and sometimes an audience of one is all you need to make a difference.

If done well and done correctly, the power of story can have a massive effect on the audience and define you as an influencer. It can inspire, enliven and create instant rapport. It can move an audience to take action and it can change lives. Never underestimate the power of storytelling and never underestimate the intelligence of your audience. Play it truthfully and emotionally, create a dialogue and you will see how the powerof story may just become the most important tool in your arsenal.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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