#SECRET NO. 2 – Be a Good Storyteller
“Story telling is the most powerful way to put your ideas into the world today.”
– Robert McAfee Brown
The first secret we disclosed was to Be A Child. Let’s see how this second secret changes your future.
People just love to hear stories. The best way to connect with people is to narrate them a story. From a daily conversation to a full swing seminars you give, it is all a story that you should be talking. People hate being advised. So let your thoughts flow as an epic and people would listen to you. But how can we make stories so unforgettable? This is a question that I always face from my students. We all have been taught various methods to establish
connection such as eye contacts with the audience, using intonations, varying tones, modulating your voice and many more but can we apply these techniques everywhere? Absolutely no.
There are three questions that you always answer when you tell a story. The story can be an incident in your life, about a topic that you are presenting on a stage, campaigning for an election, advertising a product or even briefing about your day to your parents or spouse. The questions are WHAT, HOW & WHY. The world follows a similar pattern to answer these questions.
They start with WHAT, then moves to answer How and finally the WHY. Imagine if you reverse this. Touché, you made an impact.
In 2001, Apple.inc launched the first iPod that revolutionized an entire industry. But few years
earlier, companies like Rio in 1998 and Sony in 2000 launched digital MP3 players that could
store music in a flash memory just like the iPod. When Sony launched its Walkman Core in 2000,
they advertised it like this:
“Introducing the new Walkman Core, with 256 MB memory and using advanced MP3 technology, listen to your favourite songs on the go. We let you listen to hundreds of your favourite songs from one machine. The brand new Sony Walkman Core.”
And when Apple.inc launched the first-generation iPod, their advertisement was:
“We are a group of musicians, artists, painters, engineers and geniuses working towards to make your life much easier. We want to bring entertainment at your fingertips. Imagine a 1000 songs in your pocket. The new Apple iPod, revolution starts today!”
Both the ads told the same story. But Apple iPod became a brand. Even today, be it Sony Walkman, Philips GoGear or Dell DJ, or any other MP3 players, for my mother she cannot call it anything else but an iPod. That’s how a brand influenced a common man’s life. This is called reverse storytelling. Instead of satisfying the WHAT first, go with WHY for people always remember the reason more than anything else. It satisfies their curiosity and anxiety. Imagine the power of a story if you knew how to deliver it in the right sense. It is humongous. This concept can be easily applied when you are introducing yourself to an interviewer, making a paper presentation, doing a PPT/Keynote Seminar, talking to a friend, or even telling your kids a bed time tale. This method proves to be effective than anything else.
In early 2008 when my first company was struggling to survive the world of technology based service sector, we badly wanted funding to thrust forward. We had approached many angel investors and other incubators for funds and finally we got a chance to attend a demo-day that supposedly decided our future. We were the 10th participant and as I watched all nine elevator pitch presentation made before the panel of investors waiting to perform post-mortem on the idea after the presentation all went in vain, I realized, I had two options with me. One was to go with the normal pitch that we prepared and the other one was to take a chance and do something different.
I couldn’t make up my mind until the 9th participant finished with their failed attempt to please the panel and we were called for ours. Finally, I decided to go with the 2nd option. I started off saying the words of Mr. Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems “There is a big problem here” and everybody around the room panicked. I saw the organizers trying to ask me what the problem was, I saw another person running towards the sound systems to check whether everything was fine, I saw the panel of ware-wolves confused and looking at each other, and then I continued
“ There are about 500 million people in this world who lead a rich life style and there are about 5 billion would like to become rich like these top 500 million rich people, but if you look at the numbers closely, there is a big problem, the numbers won’t sum up right. We do not have enough resources to make these 5 billion rich like these 500 million, and to us, the only solution to this major problem is Entrepreneurship.”
As I was continuing with my speech, I saw people giggling in view of the fact that I actually made them think there was a serious issue and then on, even the waiter who served tea and biscuits paused to hear me speak. In a matter of few seconds, I was able to grab the attention of each and every soul present in that room and guess what? Out of all the
15 participants, we were the only ones to get 25 lakhs funding.
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“A story is indeed powerful but what makes it more powerful and eloquent is how you narrate it.” – Rohith Namboothiri