Forbes (New York, NY), January 25, 2013
The entrepreneur’s challenge is to effectively communicate their value proposition, not only to customers, but also to vendors, partners, investors, and their own team. Especially for technical founders, this is normally all about presenting impressive facts. But in reality facts only go so far. Stories often work better, because humans don’t always make rational decisions.
Most people care the most about the things that touch, move, and inspire them. They make decisions based on emotion, and then look for the facts that support these decisions. Thus it behooves every entrepreneur to learn how to craft stories from their personal experience and the world at large that make an emotional connection, as well as tie in the facts.
A book Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story, is by Peter Guber, a thought leader on this subject and long-time business executive. He asserts that everyone today, whether they know it or not, is in the emotional transportation business, and compelling stories are the best way for you to move your business forward.
More importantly, he provides the insights and guidance that we all need to do this effectively.
- Select the right story for the right audience.
- Choose when the listener will be receptive.
- Finding the source material for good stories.
- Make sure your call to action resonates.
- Get in the right state for your story.
- Tell the story with authentic contagious energy.
- Demonstrate vulnerability and perseverance.
- Make the story experience interactive.
- Engage the senses of your audience.
- Listen actively with all your senses.
Examples of great storyteller entrepreneurs include Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, and Chad Hurley, founder of YouTube. Both demonstrated many times the ability to turn “me” into a “we,” by being able to tell a story that shined the light on an interest, goal, or problem that both the teller and the listener shared. That connection ignited empathy, secured trust, and gathered commitment to the call to action.