Using Stories

Emotional Persuasion through Storytelling

By Persuasion Fundamentals, Using Stories 3 Comments

Hi Persuader,

I cry during movies. I’ll admit it. I’m absolutely comfortable with it and not ashamed in the slightest. Stories have been used to elicit emotional responses, whether by design or by accident, since the beginning of man and some of the best stories are extraordinarily moving. That emotion may manifest as heartbreaking or uplifting or revolutionary or life changing-but the important thing to remember is that it is an unbelievably powerful opening-a hole, so to speak-that can be filled up with a message.

When we tell stories in business and when selling, we need to keep in mind the emotional state the story is going to put our prospect in. When we’re persuading, we’re really using stories to control emotional states. The value of a story is as much in the emotional state it puts my audience in as it is in the point that the story ultimately makes. (See: ‘Master of Stories‘ for more information on ‘the point’ of a story.)

My preference is that a story does both-that it makes a point and puts someone into a really profound state. What I want to do is I want to carry people away. I want them completely carried away.

We can have an arsenal of emotionally persuasive and powerful stories at our ready at all times. For example, take respect. To a more affluent and, perhaps elderly clientele, respect is quite possibly a motivating factor.

I try to really instill in my son a sense of respecting his elders and I wanted to reinforce the point that respect is paramount in dealing with people with him at his martial arts lesson the other day. In front of my son I was talking to his Sensei and I said, ‘Sensei, I wanted to tell you that at the last belt advancement that I was just at with my son, I was really impressed. There was a man there that must have been in his seventies.’ And Sensei smiled broadly and he said, ‘Yes. He’s about 73.’

And I said, ‘He was up for the test to advance his rank. When it came time for his sparring, his sensei jumped up to spar with him. I noticed that the older man was having to think before reacting, he would see something coming, he would stand there for a brief second and then he would react. It was clear that his faculties weren’t as sharp and his body wasn’t as quick, but yet, it almost brought tears to my eyes to see this man walking into the ring, walking onto the mat and doing his level best. Moreover, it impressed me that his sensei made him look so good. He respected him enough to make him look good. I realized this wasn’t about outperforming the man, it was about respecting the human spirit.’ My son’s Sensei just beamed and he responded, ‘That’s absolutely correct. You’ve got it right on all fronts.’

There’s a two paragraph story on respect that elicits an emotional response. Its goal was that I wanted my son to understand how important it is that we show respect to our elders and that this was a way the sensei showed respect to this man far his elder.

The story worked. It did exactly what I wanted it to do. And the story really touches me, profoundly. I have great love for both the sensei and for the older gentleman in the ring.

So with emotional story persuasion I’m looking to constantly maneuver the emotions because if I can get you opened up emotionally, I can put anything in that I want.

So now I’ve told you a story about respect. If I’m in front of the room talking or I’m relaying this to a client, what’s that going to do? It’s going to show you I have respect for my elders. If you were an older person coming to me for financial advice or to buy property or to improve your business or in any way to move forward in your life, what might you now believe about me as a result of hearing that story? That I’m highly respectful.

It manages the emotional state. This guy’s a respectful guy and he values our older citizens. So now we have the frame of respect set. Within that let’s leverage knowledge so the next story might be about the knowledge that somebody has that made them like an undiscovered hero. Then we’d have respect and knowledge.

What are some of your stories that might elicit deep emotional responses and how can you incorporate them into your persuasion repertoire?

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Master of Stories

By Persuasion Fundamentals, Using Stories 2 Comments

‘Facts and figures are forgotten. Stories are retold.’ -Jeffrey Gitomer

Hi Persuader,

Unless you’re a really mathematically oriented person, you’re not going to remember the charts and graphs of a presentation, and neither is your audience. If you give presentations to groups of people, while sometimes you may need to get specific, the real core, the real power of your presentation is going to be ‘The Story’.

I used to believe I wasn’t a very good story teller. I didn’t have any shyness or esteem issues where my persuasion skills were concerned, but up until a few years ago, I didn’t really think my stories were actual stories. I didn’t understand that MY stories are the real juice, the lifeblood of my persuasion.

We all have a story. In a previous article, ‘What’s Your Story?‘ I described how stories work. But your story may not have presented itself to you. It might be a tangential story. The most important story you can tell in relation to your business may be your grandparents struggle. If you’re a financial advisor, it may have to do with your father’s financial ruin when you were very young. If you’re a realtor, you might have a story about someone who you sold a house to whose life was changed irrevocably for the better.

Your object in telling a story is first to get the listener to agree with you. Once that happens, persuasion is inevitable.

The most important aspect for your story is to have a point. We’ve all heard meandering speeches about someone’s surgery or the kind of day they had that never, ever get to the point. These are NOT the kind of stories we want to tell in business.

Our stories have to have a similarity to the situation to which we’re presenting, as well as the important aspects of ‘The Hero’s Journey’. (If you’re not familiar with ‘The Hero’s Journey‘ by Joseph Campbell, become familiar with it. It is the single most important work on archetypes and stories starting pulling from sources back to the dawn of time, and has had profound impact on my teachings and learnings, as well as the teachings and learnings of millions of others.)

With a story, you don’t have to start at the beginning. In fact, there’s usually a lot of wasted words at the beginning of a story. A writing teacher I once knew had a general rule that the first paragraph or two of a story was completely dispensable. By starting in the middle, or even practically in mid-sentence, the audience is compelled to listen intently. ‘What did I miss? What do I need to know for this to make sense? What’s going on here? I can’t wait to find out.’

Another way to do this is to start with ‘the point’ of the story and work your way back. Since the point, the outcome, or what you want to teach, is the absolute goal, it’s most important that this is crystal clear.

A member of my coaching club actually ‘reverse engineers’ his stories so that the very first thing he works out is the outcome. From there he works back through the journey that got him to the goal.

When working on your story, begin by beginning. Start by starting. Write, write, write. And when you’ve written it out, read it out loud. You’ll see exactly where it needs to be edited when you read it out loud.

For more on persuasive storytelling, call Kim. She’s probably got a good story for you.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

What's Your Story? Using Stories To Persuade The Affluent

By Persuasion Fundamentals, Using Stories No Comments

Hi Persuader,

What’s Your Story? Using Stories To Persuade The Affluent

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” ~Isaac Dennison

Telling persuasive stories is the ultimate form of persuasion that exists. People are naturally wired to be able to hear your stories. It’s just a phenomenal way to communicate and it’s a phenomenal way to persuade.

You literally could do nothing but tell stories and be very, very successful.

If you aren’t telling a story and telling it persuasively, you’re missing out on a huge amount of persuasive power that you could otherwise have in your possession. Stories put the listener in a place that let’s him/her more easily accept what’s being said. Stories bypass resistance and touch the heart. That’s the key. Everyone wants to feel proud and important. You can tap into these feelings very effectively with stories.

People need to have faith in you, to believe in you, and stories give you the chance to persuade them to do so. Facts, on the other hand, will not accomplish that.

Most people have well-trained B.S. detectors. They don’t want to feel persuaded; they want to make up their own mind. Stories give them the ability to make up their own mind the way you want them to, to see what you want them to see. That’s the beauty of stories.

People need to have two questions answered in order to trust you: 1) Who are you? – which is what you’re going to be focusing on – and 2) Why are you here? Once they know those two things, they can trust you.

When you’re sitting down in front of an affluent prospect talking and they don’t know who you are or why you’re there… they’re not really going to trust you.

You could say “I’m an advisor and they need help with their money.” Nope. That’s not it.

Your affluent prospects really have to know who you are and why you’re there.

Imagine the power of this strategy. Now imagine it combined with the physical and verbal rapport techniques that I teach in my Persuasion Factor program and with my Elite Coaching Club members.

Now do you see why it’s important to keep sharpening yuor saw with these techniques?

There’s so much to learn. If you feel like you need more support, you can wait to read all of my future emails in the coming months, or you can get on the fast track by starting with my Persuasion Factor program.

But it’s a beautiful thing to be able to add all these techniques and strategies together and telling a story is the perfect format for doing just that.

A story can drastically speed up the process of learning who you are and in turn cut down on the time it takes for your clients to trust you. Instead of having to discover who you are over a long period of time, a story can stimulate the clients into seeing that very quickly.

Stories mesmerize and suck people in. They fit into the indirect permissive model, not the direct authoritarian model of communication. And once again, therein is one of the most significant powers of stories.

What’s your story? Are you from humble beginnings? Have you overcome adversity? Did you beat the odds in some facet of your life? Is your story a fairy tale?

Map out your story – could be something as simple as your struggle with an employer that forced you to set out on your own and seek your own fortune, or it could be something as vast as a family history. You’ll know it when it feels right – and so will your affluent prospects.

Until next time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

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