Tell Me A Story
Asking people to do something without any context or back story may not get the results you want. Yes, we live in a world where people are busy and don’t have time to read or sit and chat, yet I promise, and wholeheartedly believe, that what we want is deeper connection. So, tell me a story. That’s the topic of today’s post.
Asking Without Context
Last week my 14 year old niece, Abby, sent me a text that read:
Will you get a bunny. I’ll pay for it.
My first thought: No, I’m not getting a bunny.
So, I wrote back and told her,
We have a family of bunnies that live in the yard. Come visit any time.
To which she wrote,
no, stacey. (Insert possible shaking head or eye rolling here).
The next day when I spoke to my sister Alicia, Abby’s mom, I asked if she knew about the bunny text. She did, and then she shared the back story.
Change of Heart
See, my sister works as the event coordinator at a small organic food farm in Natick, MA. They raise bunnies for two reasons: 1) purchase as pets and 2) purchase as food.
My niece, a vegetarian, loves animals and absolutely cringes at the idea of slaughtering them for any reason. She won’t sit on a sofa if it’s leather.
So, Abby reached out to people she knew in an effort to save the bunnies.
And when I heard this back story, I felt my heart soften, and for a fleeting moment I thought, Maybe getting a bunny isn’t such a bad idea.
What this means for you in business.
Whether you’re trying to get employees to talk to each other more or follow a new process, or you’re a business owner trying to get prospects to buy your services or attend your programs — they need the back story — some context as to why this is important to you, to them, to the company/world/community.
Here’s a business example:
Last Thursday I attended a women’s networking event in Plymouth, MA. As each person shared their 60 second elevator speech, one woman stood out to me.
She’s a realtor specializing in helping military families find new homes. As a military wife who has moved her family several times over the years, she knows how hard that life can be and wants to make it easier for others.
I could feel the emotion when she said it. WITHOUT the back story she would have been “just another realtor” in a crowded sea of realtors. WITH the back story, she is memorable. If I hear of a military family looking for a new home, she’s the one I’ll call.
What’s Your Story?
So often in business we think we can’t tell stories. We focus on numbers and growth and performance. Here’s the thing, and there is plenty of research here, here and here to back this up. We connect on emotion. Story is one, if not the best, way to make that connection.
It makes it harder to say “no” when we understand your story and see ourselves in it.
So, the next time you’re making a pitch, giving a presentation, or inspiring your team consider:
Why is this change or idea important to YOU?
Why is this change or idea important to THEM?
Why is this change or idea important to YOUR COMPANY/COMMUNITY/WORLD?
So, if you’re struggling to get people to buy in to your services, ideas or new process, find the story and tell it. Give them the why. Provide context. Show how much you care to get them to care, too. People need a reason to act.
(To read my story and why I started Engage The Room, click here.)
Now, who wants a pet bunny?
Your voice matters. Keep shining.
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About the blog
Insights & inspiration to make human interactions like speaking, networking, facilitating less awkward & boring and more natural & engaging.
Topics include presence, getting your message across, relationship building, staying poised under pressure, running a meeting, dealing with burnout and more.
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