Have you ever found yourself having to sell a product or service to someone who just does not want to buy it? Have you found yourself in a conversation with a person who just does not see your point of view, and the conversation seems hopeless?
I’ve found myself in these types of situations almost daily. There are so many things that we do naturally to try to change the person’s attitude, mindset or opinion. I think I’m like any other person who just feels that, through conversation and persistence, maybe–just maybe–this person will change.
If you’re in the business to grow and develop your career, having awareness of communication blocks is important. For me, I am continuing to develop my persuasion skills. I’m aware of this area that needs improvement, and I believe I’ve found an easy way to improve my persuasion skills.
I’ve recently read several books on communication. One that I found most interesting was Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire, by Paul Smith. In this book, there are several examples of stories which have been used to persuade, convince, and change people. I’ve learned several techniques that have helped me develop my skills related to communication.
One tip that I learned was to keep a story database. This is something that is new to me, and it makes sense. We all have had great experiences that turn into great stories. However, after some time we forget the details of the story that made the experience so exciting. What Smith recommends is recording these stories in your personal story database. Create a file which contains your greatest stories.
You may think that you’ll remember every good story there is. That is just not true. Can you remember a great story when you were faced with adversity, and had to change or adapt to overcome the challenge? You might be able to recall a story, but what if you could recall multiple stories? I’m not a proponent for writing everything down, but creating a journal-like database of great stories could be extremely useful.
When I tell a story, I often forget things like the context. I just go right into the action and results of the situation. Here’s an example: “Mr. Customer, you need this extended service plan so that you’re covered for five years.” What I missed was the context. Many people forget to include the context of the situation when telling a story. Remember to include the context of the situation in your story database. Use the acronym CAR, (C)ontext, (A)ction, (R)esults, when recording your story.
Stories are great for communication and persuasion. Stories are not weapons to violently move someone’s opinion, but stories may help people understand where you are coming from. Giving the person you’re speaking with an opportunity to relate and understand your opinion through a story may change the outcome of the interaction.
When you finish reading this article, create a story database file and record a story of your own.