In The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling, Annette Simmons tells us ”There are six types of stories that will serve you well in your efforts to influence others.
- Who I Am Stories
- Why I Am Here Stories
- The Vision Story
- Teaching Stories
- Values-in-Action Stories
- I Know What You Are Thinking Stories “
She sees telling stories as a mini-documentary; a way of getting information across in a powerful and agreeable way. She says that people don’t want more information, they want to believe in you and your project. Creating and delivering a story is the path to generating that belief. She goes on to say:
Basically, a story is a narrative account of an event or events – true or fictional. The difference between giving an example and telling a story is the addition of emotional content and added sensory details in the telling. . . . Whether the details are factual or not, good stories always have an element of Truth (with a capital “T”) in them.
And it’s this Truth that evokes the kind of listening necessary to motivate, persuade and inspire in a way that factual telling with a PowerPoint presentation just can’t do. You can’t make someone listen to you but you can entice and fascinate.
Is this a nasty plot designed to make you do what you don’t want to do? It can be if misused (remember Charlie Manson) but basically I think it just describes the way humans work. I heard a story on NPR today about how people tend to disclose more personal information online if the website is casual looking and tend to withhold if it’s more formal – Facebook v. Wells Fargo.
We might think that we’re totally rational beings but we are ruled by many other aspects of our psyches. Understanding how this works gives you the tools to win friends and influence people.