A story works because it helps you connect with your audience and open up their minds. A listener cannot actively disagree with a story. It is what it is. He or she is just listening to find out what happens next.
Before you start to develop a story, go through the following steps to ensure success:
1. Identify behaviors—what is the current belief that you want to change
2. Determine strategy in question—how the audience implements the belief that you want to put into question
3. Pinpoint the desired outcomes—what you want them to change this belief to, and how the new belief will help the audience
Then, follow this recipe for building your story:
1. Find a story—look for something that happened to you, or something you had a connection to, that impacted you in a way that you think can also effect other people
2. Read it over—read the story (or write it down yourself) carefully, getting as much relevant detail as possible
3. Let it “cook” for a day—your unconscious mind will go to work, finding new parallels and meanings for the story
4. Read it again
5. Let it cook again overnight
6. Deliver the story—now, after you have gone through the reading and processing twice, you are ready to take the story to an audience
Here are just a few ways you can utilize stories to enhance your presentations:
• As an attention grabber or opener—few things get the audience’s attention as quickly as an opening story, making stories great presentation openers
• As a way to pace and lead the audience through the presentation—you do not have to finish the story and be done with it. As you go through your presentation, feel free to go back to the story to tie things back in, and to draw new connections that the audience may not have made on the first telling.
• As a way to change a belief—the audience has a certain system of beliefs. How can you change their beliefs on a particular topic? A story can help you reframe the way the audience is thinking, and then frame up the way you want them to think.
• As a way to overcome objections and bring down defenses—a good story can help you bypass the audience’s critical barrier and get to the core of their beliefs, making an emotional argument as well as a logical one