Kinnaird: Facts tell and stories sell

Each week I attend a business owners breakfast meeting, and recently I was visiting with the gentleman who was preparing to present to the group. He was frustrated because his laptop didn’t have the correct connector for the projector in the room. His company had a new website and he had planned to share it with the other business owners in the room.

I suggested an alternate idea: ask everyone to pull out their cell phone, direct them to open a browser window and then key in his website address.

Which they all did. Day saved!

Why was that a good solution? Because most people looking for your website are searching on their phone or tablet anyway. Plus, it got all of us involved, which is an important skill when presenting.

After sharing his website, my friend proceeded to tell us a story. The story was about his family and how they created and built the business. He could have instead shown us a detailed PowerPoint presentation filled with dates and details, but most of us would have glazed over a little bit.

When you’re talking to people, tell stories. Paint a visual in our minds and take us on a journey. It will be much more memorable.

“Facts tell and stories sell.” And stories allow us to make an emotional connection which leads to greater retention. Stories are another way to get the audience involved.

Stories are useful in many areas of your business: sales, marketing and customer service. Two of your story tools are your voice and your body. No boring monotone allowed. Change the pace and volume of your voice, and use your hands or movement to help describe things. And don’t forget the power of the pause. It not only adds effect, it allows your audience time to catch up and consider what you’ve just said.

Next time you need to speak to 1 person or a group of people, think of ways to involve them. Using technology and telling stories are some new and old school ways to try. If you need some help in telling stories, listen to the comedy channel, watch the late-night shows, listen to storytelling podcasts and scour YouTube for good examples.

At least your research will be entertaining!

Amy Kinnaird is one of Louisiana’s most respected C-Level business strategists. You can reach Amy via email at Amy@AmyKinnaird.com.