When I was twenty-one years old, my brother Scott and I started a business together. I quickly discovered that I didn’t have a lot of credibility when it came to influencing others. We had marginal success but not the kind we were after. So I started to study communication and influence. I read books, attended seminars, listened to audio programs, and practiced what I learned.
Through my study I found some keys to how to tell my story and communicate my message that caused people to listen and to eventually follow me. We ended up building that business to over $20 million dollars in annual revenue while still in our twenties. I since have had a chance to share my influence strategies, as a speaker and author, with hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
What I’ve discovered is that when it comes to communicating with others, most speakers, leaders, teachers, and coaches are striving for perfection in their message, when what they should be worried about is connection. The interesting thing is that we forget the fundamental basic of how humans connect:
People respond based on emotion.
We’ve all heard that before, but what does it mean? It means that the first level of response to any communication will be in accordance to how it makes the listener feel. It’s the audience’s emotional reaction that creates connection, causes engagement, stimulates learning, solidifies memory, and causes them to take action. That is why Peter Guber said, “Move your listeners’ hearts and their feet and wallet will follow.”
As an influencer, how then do you stimulate emotion? Here are a few questions to think about:
•Are you selling intellectually or emotionally?
•Are you casting your vision with just facts and statistics and missing the opportunity to make an emotional connection?
•Are your speeches and presentations death by power point or are you engaging your audience?
Anyone who hopes to connect with another human being needs to learn to communicate emotionally. So how do we do that?
The answer is 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”
Stories are an influencer’s best friend. If you are involved in speaking, selling, leading or teaching, then storytelling is a communication and influence strategy you need to master.
Study Storytelling, Practice Storytelling and you will see your influence grow and your impact expand.