By Kenrick Cleveland
In business, we have rules of decorum, obviously, but I am of the opinion that some rules were meant to be bent. Not broken entirely, but molded and bent to suit your persuasive needs.
Part of “professional decorum” is not getting “too personal”. But I contend that personal is exactly what people crave.
Storytelling is an art, as much of life is. Being creative within the context of a business relationship is an amazing way to make and keep lifelong clients and customers.
Something that creates a sense of rapport in a very fast and powerful way is the statement, ‘Let me share a secret with you. . .’ Hmm. A secret? Doesn’t everyone want to know a secret? Doesn’t it make you feel “special” to know that you’re about to be one of the special few that will know this information?
Working ‘secrets’ and personal anecdotes (nothing absurd, but definitely pointed and geared toward the matter at hand) speeds up our client’s and prospect’s trust in us as the answer to their needs.
In seminars I often share personal stories from my youth. I have even been known to really open up about some mistakes I’ve made in the past as they relate to persuasion in terms of not really completely understanding that honesty and integrity have always got to be the highest things on the list. These are very difficult stories for me to recount because I’m not particularly proud of tactics I used as a young man. It’s not pleasant to relate things that I feel are real blotches on my personal inventory. And yet, because I have learned from my past, overcome incongruencies in my way of existing in the world, a little discomfort can be endured because I’m making a point, teaching a lesson on what to do and what *not* to do.
When I get into the more personal aspects of teaching like this, I also make sure to step outside of the first person and enter into a meta state to explain how this personal storytelling can really be an art.
When you think about it, you can be an artist at nearly anything. You can be an artist at creating amazing friendships. You can be an artist in business. You can be an artist of persuasion. Some of our creativity within certain arenas is natural. . . we’ve got it to start with and we can make magical things happen as a result of it. Other things are learned. I wasn’t born the persuader I am today. I have put years and years into my art and each and every day I wake up and realize what all that hard work has done for me.
My suggestion. . . find a personal story that relates to your business and start relating it to your prospects and clients. Watch how this quickens rapport and trust by magnitudes. We all crave a good story.
Until Next Time,
Kenrick E. Cleveland