Episode 302: Inspiring Action Through Storytelling with Karen Eber
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We all love a great story, but few know how to tell one.
However, storytelling is an incredibly effective way to inform, influence, and inspire others in both personal and professional settings.
So, how can you become a great storyteller by learning the science behind it?
To help us with this incredible topic today, we have Karen Eber, CEO and Chief Storyteller of the Eber Leadership Group. Karen is also the author of "The Perfect Story" as well as a keynote and TED Speaker who helps companies build healthy leaders, teams, and culture one story at a time.
How Can Storytelling Transform Your Sales Approach?
Embrace the power of storytelling to captivate and connect deeply with your audience. Great stories aren't just about recounting events; they're about making your listeners feel like the main characters, allowing them to see, hear, and feel the experience as if they were their own. This emotional connection is crucial, especially in sales, where storytelling can link customers to the outcomes they seek from a product or service. Building a compelling story goes down to focusing on your audience first and structuring your narrative around context, conflict, outcome, and takeaway, ensuring your story resonates, engages emotionally, and encourages action.
“A great story makes your brain sit up and pay attention, and it's telling you, as the listener, that you are the main character in the story. So even if you've never had this experience, you're able to see, hear, feel, and experience the things being described, which is so great in sales because you can have that moment where you're connecting someone to the higher aspiration of what they want to buy”.
Unlock Your Storytelling Genius
Enhancing your storytelling skills starts with understanding how our brains process stories. The key to becoming a great storyteller lies in grasping the brain's factory setting or the five principles grounded in science that influence how we engage with stories. For instance, recognizing that the brain conserves energy for survival helps us craft stories that grab and hold attention by stimulating the senses and introducing unexpected elements. This principle ensures your story is deemed "calorie-worthy" by your audience's brains, making them invest their focus and memory.
“I believe there are certain ways your brain responds to information, communications, or stories that are important to understand and factor into the choices you make in your stories. And so I call these the five factory settings of the brain. They're almost like five principles of storytelling”.
Captivate Your Audience and Make Your Message Stick
Avoid common storytelling mistakes by focusing first on what your audience needs to hear rather than the story you want to tell. Tailor your narrative to be meaningful and impactful for them. Additionally, structuring your story by employing a simple framework like context, conflict, outcome, and takeaway can significantly enhance clarity and retention for you and your listeners. Remember, in sales meetings, sharing the compelling WHY behind a product or service through storytelling can transform a simple list of features into a memorable, persuasive narrative that facilitates connection and trust.
“If you're telling the story, you're risking it not being meaningful for the audience like you're the uncle at the holiday table again. So, the best thing is to always focus first on your audience and what you're trying to have them do because that's where you're gonna make sure your story is meaningful and not just wasted words”.
Engage Hearts and Minds Through Tone, Timing, and Truth
Delivery, tone, and preparation of a story can make or break how it is received by the audience. Karen highlights the importance of being authentically human in storytelling, acknowledging that perfection isn't necessary for engaging people. Storytellers must focus on the pacing, inflection, and strategic use of pauses to enhance the narrative and allow the audience's brain to fully absorb the message. Karen also touches on the appropriate timing for storytelling in business, warning against using stories for manipulation. Instead, storytelling should be used to genuinely connect and communicate with the audience, making a lasting impact by making them feel understood and valued.
“Treat people like adults, and give them the update. Don't try to spin it in a story because people will sense that and not trust it. That's the moment not to tell a story”.
How ChatGPT Transforms Storytelling
In a world where AI and machine learning are transforming how we create and share stories, it's crucial to recognize their potential as tools for sparking creativity and enhancing efficiency. ChatGPT can be a fantastic ally in the brainstorming process, offering plenty of ideas to kickstart your thinking and help overcome the daunting blank page syndrome. Whether you're preparing for a sales meeting or seeking inspiration for articles, AI can generate a starting point. However, it's essential to infuse the final output with your personal touch and unique insights.
Now that you know what it takes to become a great storyteller, check out the full list of episodes at The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you enjoy the show, instructions to rate and review it are found here.