Leaders Need To Tell More Stories

  Yesterday I had a pre-call for an upcoming event. Next month, in Las Vegas, I will be speaking to 150 CEO’s about The Power of Storytelling. As we went through what I would be sharing, the event organizer asked, “What led you to writing and speaking about storytelling? Why are you fascinated with stories?” There are probably several answers to that question, but here is the one I gave and I think it is vital for every leader to understand. Storytelling is one of the most underrated tools in business and effective storytelling just might be the most impactful leadership method there is. Here is why. A study by Uri Hasses of Princeton revealed surprising brain activity in audiences as they listened to a speaker tell a story. “The results showed that not only did all of the listeners show similar brain activity during the story, the speaker and
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Investments Lead To Stories

Investments in people lead to stories. And the stories that are told invariably build the influence and reputation of the one doing the investing.   Think about it: -When you have exceptional service at a restaurant, what do you do? You tell the story. -When your boss does something extra special for you, what do you do? You tell the story. -When a friend goes out of their way to help you, what do you do? You tell the story. We love it when someone invests in us by providing exceptional attention and service, and because it is so unexpected or unusual, we almost always share.   One of my clients is Subway. I speak to their franchisees and managers quite often and when I do I always share a simple experience to illustrate this point. I was eating in a subway once in the middle of the afternoon and
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5 Powerfully Simple Presentation Tips

1. Get Rid of Pleasantries – There is no need to talk about the weather, how grateful you are to be there, to apologize, or reintroduce yourself. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention so start with a question or jump into your content. 2. Make it Conversational – Act like you are speaking to one person. Make it conversational. Ask questions. If it is a small group you might create dialogue, with a large audience ask questions and give a pause for people to think about the question. Keep them engaged in the conversation. 3. Tell Stories – People love stories. Stories inspire, stories motivate—stories evoke emotion in people that causes them to respond, to take action, to adopt your ideas, and buy your products. Robert McKee put it well when he said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”
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Communication Lesson From Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most recognized comedians in the world. In the early 90s it was Jerry’s comedy that spearheaded the popularity of observational humor. Here are a few of his funny observations: • According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. • I was the best man at the wedding. If I’m the best man, why is she marrying him? • It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. Jerry is a great comedian and a great communicator and he taught a great lesson on communication when he said, “I will spend an hour taking an eight word
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10 Storytelling Secrets

People love stories. More importantly, stories engage emotion which prompts people to respond, take action or buy your products.  Stories engage emotionally and people take action based on emotion.  These 10 Storytelling Secrets will help you on your way to becoming an effective communicator. In storytelling your focus is on the audience. Tell it for them not for you. The goal of storytelling in business is not perfection, but rather connection with your audience. Your purpose is to engage your audience. Without engagement there is never any influence. Find your voice and strike a balance between credibility and relatability. An influential story is struggle to solution. You hook them with the struggle and you help them with the solution. Keep your stories concise and compelling. Audiences have short attention spans, so the quicker you get to the take away, the better. You don’t retell a story—you relive a story. Make
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Those Who Tell The Stories – Rule The World

This week I had a chance to train the Wounded Warriors Project Speakers. What incredibly brave soldiers with amazing stories. I was reminded once again of the power a story has to emotionally impact those who hear it. Stories are a great way to make a connection. People love stories. People relate to stories. Stories are engaging, not only intellectually but also emotionally. When we hear a good story we automatically make a connection with the storyteller. As leaders we need to learn to tell a good story. In my book, “The Power of Storytelling” I break down the science and the art of telling a great story. For this post, let me synthesize that down to a couple of key points: One: Don’t talk too much. I was recently interviewed by a business magazine about storytelling and leadership. One of the great questions they asked is what is the number one mistake leaders
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How Do You Develop Charisma?

Charisma “Charisma is a sparkle in people that money can’t buy. It’s an invisible energy with visible effects.” — Marianne Williamson Is Charisma something you are born with or something you can learn? I am asked this question by leaders and salespeople quite often and here is my answer. Over 10 years ago I met a man named Kenton Worthington. He’s one of the most successful young entrepreneurs I know. I remember coming home the day we were introduced and telling my wife I’d just met one of the most charismatic people I’d ever known. She said what does that mean? And I sat there trying to figure out what charismatic meant. Why would I describe him as charismatic? My first response was it’s his personality. I said, ‘You know what I mean, he’s got a charismatic personality.’ And she said, ‘No, I don’t know what that means. What makes
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Three Things The Right Story Can Do For You

Gary Vaynerchuck, the Wine Library TV star and bestselling author of Crush It! said, “Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.” The reason that statement is true is because stories make you, your products and your brand relatable, engaging, and multidimensional. If we are in the interview process we want to be liked and remembered. If we are in sales we want our product to be chosen over all of the competition.  And every company in the world wants their brand to be valuable in the minds of consumers. Well-told stories in the business world create three fantastic results. Stories magnify memory, causing your audience to retain your message. Stories amplify meaning, causing your audience to apply your message. Stories increase motivation, causing your audience to relate emotionally and take action. The largest franchise business in the world is Subway. With over 35,000 locations, Subway surpassed McDonald’s
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Five Presentation Tips From Shark Tank

My favorite show on TV is Shark Tank. If you haven’t ever seen it – it is a reality TV show where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their business/product ideas to millionaire and billionaire investors – inviting them to invest in their companies with their own money. These investors include Mark Cuban (Owner of the Dallas Mavericks), Daymond John (Creator of FUBU) and others. I am an entrepreneur at heart. I love seeing innovative ideas and people who are creating something from scratch. I love the sacrifice and the passion. I love the negotiations and the valuation process of a pitch. But the thing that I love the most about Shark Tank is what we can learn about giving presentations from the entrepreneur’s presentations. When I was in High School I competed in an entrepreneurship competition against 10,000 other kids. In the competition we had to conceive of a business, write a
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Advice From Joseph Stalin That Will Change The Way You Communicate

I am currently working with Colorado Children’s Hospital to help them develop their story for their upcoming fundraising campaign. Colorado Children’s is a remarkable facility that has moved to the number three ranked children’s hospital in the nation and the goal for this upcoming campaign is over $300 Million dollars.   How impactful would your communication need to be to raise over $300 million?   As we had our initial meeting I shared a thought that is helping to shape the story and it is an important concept for every communicator to understand if they want to be effective and influential.   The concept comes from a quote from Joseph Stalin. (It may be hard for you to get your head around a mass murderer’s advice being applicable to a hospital that saves millions of lives – but go with me for a minute).   Stalin said, “One man’s death
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