Advertising
Advertising

Tell Stories

Tell Stories

    We live in a world with information overload. Data, facts, statistics and definitive answers to specific questions are immediately available from search engines on the internet. But people want more than facts.  They want understanding.  They want meaning. They want context.  They want stories.

    Children ask their parents to tell them stories because they like to fit the pieces of the story into a context they can understand. It is the same with adults. Audiences at conferences do not want to be bombarded with data and figures. They want stories with emotional impact that hold their interest and convey meaning.

    Advertising

    Telling a story is a powerful way to get your message across. One of the reasons that Christianity took hold is that Jesus conveyed his message not in sermons or theological discourses but in parables – he told stories that people could easily understand and repeat to others. Stories involve people, emotions, feelings, consequences and outcomes. They hold our interest because we want to find out what happens to the people in the stories.

    When you want to communicate an important point then tell a tale.  Compare these two approaches that a bank might use to let entrepreneurs know about business loans.

    A. Last year we made over 15,000 loans to small businesses with a total funding in excess of $1200 million. On average we arranged the loans within 27 days of initial enquiry and we have streamlined our applications with on-line systems that speed processing. We have over 250 trained account managers to optimize customer service. In surveys of small business owners we are consistently rated one of the top four banks to deal with.

    Advertising

    storyteller

      B. Last year we made over 15,000 loans to small businesses. One was to Gerry Martinez who runs his own office fitting company. He is the 35 year old son of Spanish immigrants and he had built his business to a level where he employs 20 people – including many of his relatives. He secured a major contract worth over $500,000 to refit the purchasing offices of a large retailer and he needed a loan of $50,000 to fund the stock and equipment required. Gerry was anxious because he was in danger of losing the contract if he could not secure the funding and he had been turned down by two other banks before coming to us. One of our most experienced advisors, Eddy Jordan, quickly assessed the situation and arranged the loan within 7 working days of first meeting Gerry. Eddy was able to offer further help with insurances and in securing training grants for some of Gerry’s apprentices. Gerry’s business has doubled in turnover since he got the loan and he says, ‘Thanks to your help, we pulled through a very difficult time and I am proud of what we have achieved.’

      Which message is more likely to gain your interest? If you want a loan which approach is more likely to convince you to look further into what the bank has to offer?

      Advertising

      How do you tell a story? Here are some simple steps to follow:

      1. Introduce the characters. Stories involve people so describe them.
      2. Set the scene. This often involves some challenge or difficulty that has to be overcome.
      3. Explain what happened next and how the situation resolved itself.
      4. Draw out any conclusions or lessons learnt.

      Go through your own life and think about some of your most vivid memories, some of the difficulties or problems you faced, some of the funny or emotional things that happened to you.  What were the lessons you learned? We all have stories within us and sometimes we can enrich the lives of others if we tell a relevant story well. You have to be prepared to bare yourself, to share your feelings and frailties.  But by doing this sincerely you can gain enormous respect and sympathy from your audience. Do not short change your listeners; vividly describe your feelings, your emotions, your pain, your joy. They want to hear how bad it was, how scared you were, how surprised you were, what happiness you felt. Above all they want closure. They want to know what happened and why.

      When, in later life, you think about your parents or grandparents what you will most likely remember are not the facts about their lives, nor details of their earnings, wealth or qualifications. You will remember the stories they told you; especially heart-warming stories about when they were growing up, their relationships with their parents, the mistakes they made, the adventures they had.

      Advertising

      Build your own store of interesting stories. Be prepared to tell them in social and business contexts.  You can tell a personal story on all sorts of occasions – on a date or when giving a keynote talk. The stories about things that happened to you are the best. But interesting stories about other people are also worth retelling if they are really amusing or make a great point.

      E. M. Forster explained it very simply. A fact is, ‘The queen died and the king died.’ A story is, ‘The queen died and the king died of a broken heart.’ When you want to convey a message, don’t think just in terms of giving information. Ask yourself how you can illustrate the message with examples and tales.  Use fewer facts and more stories.

      P.S.  Here is a personal story I told on Lifehack:

      We Need to Challenge Our Children

      More by this author

      Paul Sloane

      Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

      Face Adversity with a Smile How to Win an Argument – Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics How to Get Rich: 11 Bold Moves That Guarantee Wealth How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist Think Laterally

      Trending in Communication

      1 30 Powerful Success and Failure Quotes That Will Lead You to Success 2 How to Stop Being a Perfectionist (Step-by-Step Guide) 3 You Can Change Your Life NOW: 5 Strategies to Start Living Your Best Life 4 How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips 5 5 Powerful Self-Care Ideas for When Life Is Stressful

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

      30 Powerful Success and Failure Quotes That Will Lead You to Success

      30 Powerful Success and Failure Quotes That Will Lead You to Success

      No one can live a positive life without failing. However, many people experience a fear of failure, despite its inevitability in life. Failure, as you will see from these 30 success and failure quotes, is the key ingredient for the recipe of success!

      Today’s society is obsessed with success and achievement, and failure is definitely NOT part of the equation. Failure and making mistakes is hidden away or seen as a human weakness.

      However, if you avoid making mistakes in life, struggle to do everything right, and are obsessed with perfection and order, then living and experiencing a successful and happy life is going to be impossible.

      Embrace your failure, whether it is one failure or many failures, because with the right attitude and a willingness to learn from your mistakes, you are guaranteed a lifetime of success. Here are some uplifting quotes about failure and success to help you get started.

      1. “Never let success get to your head; never let failure get to your heart.” -Anonymous

      This quote is important for those of us who feel downtrodden after every failure, heartbroken, if you will. If you let failure get you down for more than a couple of days, you’re wasting away your chance to bounce back from it.

      On the other hand, if you allow yourself to build an inflated ego after every success, future failures may be even harder to cope with. Maintain a sense of humility and gratitude for each success and failure you find.

      2. “Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?” -Marilyn Monroe

      Marilyn Monroe is spot on with this one. The first person who should be there to catch you when you fall is you. You have to be your own best advocate, the person to build you up when it feels like everything is going wrong. The others in your support system are just icing on the cake.

      3. “You always pass failure on your way to success.” -Mickey Rooney

      In today’s competitive world, it’s hard to understand that almost no one experiences failure before they experience genuine, lasting success. Failure is what forces you to learn in order to achieve that goal you’ve been working up to.

      Advertising

      4. “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.” -Chinese proverb

      Everyone falls. Those who refuse to pick themselves back up, no matter if it’s after two days or two years, are the true failures.

      5. “Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” -Robert Kiyosaki

      There are many success and failure quotes on this idea, and that’s because it’s so very important. Learning doesn’t happen when things are easy. It happens when things get tough and you have to find a way through challenges.

      6. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” -Barack Obama

      No one can escape failure. If you let it keep you down and shying away from achieving your goals, you’ve failed again. If you learn from it and continue on your path toward greatness, it wasn’t a true failure but a lesson.

      7. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” -Og Mandion

      Determination is one of the best antidotes to failure. Even if you take two steps forward and one step back, you’re still moving forward with grit and determination. Keep going!

      8. “Fear regret more than failure.” -Taryn Rose

      At the end of your life, what do you think you’ll feel worst about, failing or never trying?

      9. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” -Nelson Mandela

      If anyone has enough insight to offer us success and failure quotes, it’s Nelson Mandela. He learned that that path to success (and freedom) is full of setbacks. His determination, however, led him to make amazing changes in the world around him. Now that’s success.

      10. “The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” -Paulo Coelho

      Each time you get back up, it will get easier and easier, and you’ll realize each time that those failures are the greatest lessons life will ever give you.

      11. “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” -Napoleon Hill

      Unfortunately, many people stop trying after a large failure comes their way. They lose their confidence, determination, and will. However, success usually follows quickly behind these huge failures because you’ve inevitably learned what not to do.

      Advertising

      Don’t stop with the huge failure. Take a few more steps and see if it gets you where you wanted to go.

      12. I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Alva Edison

      Through his success and failure quotes, Thomas Edison shows us that failures are only truly failures if you don’t learn the lesson they offer.

      13. “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” -Bill Gates

      Celebrating success feels good, but learning the lessons of failure is where growth occurs[1], which can lead you to even greater successes.

      14. “The only thing that separates success from failure is one last attempt. Try one more time and you will get lucky.” -Apoorve Dubey

      Every success comes from an attempt. If you don’t try one more time, you’ll never know if it could’ve been your big chance at big success.

      15. “Failure is a detour; not a dead-end street.” -Zig Ziglar

      Many people get impatient with failure. They feel that it’s a stopping point, or a road that’s too long to walk. However, the patience to take that new road is exactly what’s necessary to find success. If success is easy to find, it likely won’t last very long.

      16. “In the real world, very smart people fail, and mediocre people rise. Part of what makes people fail or succeed are skills that have nothing to do with IQ. Also, the idea that intelligence can be gauged by an IQ test is erroneous.” -Camille Paglia

      Failure is not a sign of a lack of intelligence, as Paglia suggests. Failure is a sign of great intelligence and great courage. She also points out the important point that intelligence takes many forms, and it’s often the grit and maturity to accept failure for the temporary setback that it is.

      17. “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” -Oprah Winfrey

      Queens will always be queens, no matter if they experience success or failure. And you will always be you, so use that to your advantage, and take the risk of failure in order to reach success.

      18. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” -J.K. Rowling

      Living a life free of failure generally means you have lived a boring, uneventful life. Is it really worth it?

      Advertising

      19. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” -Richard Branson

      If you’ve ever watched a child learn to walk, you know that Branson’s success and failure quotes are true. Children are determined. They fall, and they get back up. And then they learn, and soon they’re running.

      20. “Success or failure is caused more by mental attitude than by mental capacity.” -Walter Scott

      Scott knows that intelligence is less of a determining factor in success than determination or ruthless optimism. Set yourself up for success by cultivating both.

      21. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again. That is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

      Michael Jordan knows failure, and yet we know him as an incredibly successful person. Why? Because he never let the failures stop him from moving on.

      22. “There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” -José N. Harris

      The secrets to success are pretty simple, and living a full life is only possible once you learn that getting up after a failure will bring a great sense of satisfaction and joy.

      23. “All people fail at certain instances in their lives, the only thing that makes them different is how they manage to stand up or how they choose to fail again.” -Unknown

      If you fail, you’re like the vast majority of the world. What makes you different is how you choose to respond.

      24. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” -Robert Kennedy

      If you aim high, even if you fall short you’ll still likely be ahead of the majority of people. Take the time in life to fail greatly because that’s where you’ll find your true self.

      25. “Failure is good as long as it doesn’t become a habit.” -Michael Eisner

      If you continue to make the same mistakes, you’re not learning from your failures. This is when it becomes a destructive habit instead of a moment to propel you toward success.

      26. “If you are afraid of failure, you don’t deserve to be successful.” -Charles Barkley

      Only those who are willing to accept the hard emotions that come along with failure will be those who will enjoy the good feelings of genuine success.

      Advertising

      27. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” -William A. Ward

      In his success and failure quotes, Ward points out something important. Failure is often seen as a death stroke, something that stops our success. If we shift our perspective and look upon failure as a teacher instead, we will likely feel very differently about those moments in our life and see that failure is delay, not death.

      28. “Courage allows the successful woman to fail and learn powerful lessons from the failure. So that in the end, she didn’t fail at all.” -Maya Angelou

      We’ve been here before. Failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it. Let yourself get a bad grade on the test; you’ll study differently next time. Let yourself fail at a relationship; you know how to build a healthier relationship next time.

      Every failure brings a lesson. Learn it and move on.

      29. “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.” -William Saroyan

      If you think of the moments you learned and grew the most, were they easy times or hard times? Challenges make us better, smarter people[2]. You don’t get wise through an easy life.

      30. “Don’t fear failure—not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” -Bruce Lee

      If you try to achieve something great, even a failure feels like a success. At least you had the courage to try. That’s more than most can say.

      More Inspirational Quotes

      Featured photo credit: Gabrielle Henderson via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Business Review: Strategies for Learning from Failure
      [2] Psychology Today: How Greater Challenges Help You Grow

      Read Next