Would you believe me if I told you that you already have the power to succeed? It’s latent and just waiting to be tapped into. It’s relatively easy to learn and it reaps rewards that help you throughout your lifetime. It is also one of the skills that never becomes outdated or even useless but one that only becomes better the more you practice. What is this power? Storytelling.
Storytelling has an effect of everyday life that is amazing. People have discovered it to get what they want in life and here are just four examples of actual conversations (with a few modifications as to names, places and so on) that show that when a story was told, there were positive repercussions, namely:
A sale was made
A lecture was successfully delivered
A job was secured
Friendships were made
Conversation #1 – a sale was made
Sales person A said, “The crystal you are holding in your hand is good for bringing wealth.”
Then, before Jane could ask anything, sales person A said, “the colour in this crystal is yellow. Make a wish, buy this and I guarantee that your wish will come true.”
Jane nodded politely, said, “Just looking …” and walked away.
Sales person B said, “I see you are interested in the yellow crystal.”
After Jane nodded and said, “You know, that has been my best selling item. Actually it has helped me personally too. Can I tell you the story?”
Jane agreed and sales person B said, “Well, about a year ago, I lost my job. The bank was after me. I chanced upon these crystals. They come from the caves of this mountain where there is a story that the Goddess of wealth who is supposed to appear from time to time. I don’t know what the powers are in these crystals but I tell you, that day, when I went to the bank, the officer was so patient. He listened to me and instead of seizing my property, we re-negotiated. I was given time and since then I have started this business and am slowly succeeding.”
Jane nodded and said, “Tell me more about this crystal…” and in no time at all, Jane bought the crystal.
Conversation #2 – a brilliant lecture was delivered
Jack, an average lecturer at the university, began speaking to his class about the rather obscure topic of ‘History and the art of story telling with an emphasis on examples of satire’
He began in a tedious, monotone: “There are many cultures in this world …” blah, blah, blah. He never bothered look at his audience to see it anyone was paying attention to what he was saying
When he did look up he saw some of his students beginning to yawn and some others preparing to leave. Even though he felt dejected, Jack decided to plod along and finish his lecture. When the class ended, there were almost no students and Jack’s energy was completely drained.
At 11 o’clock in the morning, Jack was to deliver the same lecture but to a different group of students. But this time, he decided to try something a little different…
He started by looking at his audience for a moment, and then said, “This topic reminds me of a story I once knew…” and he launched into his story.
The response was phenomenal and immediate. All his students stayed until the end of the class (a first); the discussion had been lively, entertaining and many thought-provoking issues were raised.
Conversation # 3 – a job was secured
There was a job available at a law firm and there were many candidates.
Although lawyer A was qualified, she did not say very much except answer the normal questions about her qualifications and so on. No impression was made whatsoever on her potential employers.
The potential employers then told her, regretfully that she was over qualified the company could not afford to pay her high salary.
She left the room dejected.
The next candidate, Lawyer B was as qualified as Lawyer A. However, she had a different approach all together. When she was given the same reply, by the potential employers, as Lawyer B, she did this:
Instead of walking out of the room, she asked for permission to stay a little longer. She said that since it was time for a coffee break, would it be permissible to ask for a cup of coffee. “I would like to tell you a story,” is what she said. Stunned, her potential employers agreed and coffee was brought. She began her story, “A long time ago, in a land far, far away, when a group of people were looking for shelter in a Kingdom, the King said nothing. What he did was to pour the milk into a cup until it overflowed … this is what you are telling me,” and pours the coffee until it overflows.
“What I am saying to you now is what the head of the people seeking shelter said to the King,” and what she does is to take a spoonful of sugar and mixes it into the coffee.
Immediately her potential employers got the message that although she was over qualified, she was willing to work for them. Rather than be a burden, she would blend with the other people and add to the quality of their personnel. She was hired.
Conversation # 4 – friendships were made
Jane was invited by David for lunch. Really, more than her company, he wanted to complain about his work conditions.
David said, “I am so tired of the rat race. My health is failing and no matter what I do, I’m never happy,” and on and on he went.
Jane said, “You know, your problem – you whine all the time. You have everything in world and yet you are not content. You are just wasting everyone’s time. Now just eat your lunch.”
In minutes, David walked out of Jane’s life … forever!
Months later, Jane was invited out to lunch by Mike. Almost the same thing happened. Mike said, “I am so tired of the rat race. My health is failing and no matter what I do, I’m never happy,” and before he can rattle on an on, Jane gently stopped him.
Jane’s reaction was different this time; she said, “You know, I have listened to you say this so many times. I know you are unhappy but have you even wondered about others. I mean let me tell you a story:
“There was once a King who was the head of the government, he had lost all of his brothers. When it was time for him to face Death, he was asked the question: “Who enjoys happiness contentment and tranquility?”
His answer was “A man who is not burdened by debts enjoys happiness contentment and tranquility. Even if he eats cheap foods after five or six days he remains happy contented and tranquil.”
Death was so happy with the answer that not only was the King life spared, his brothers lives were all restored.”
Mike said, “That’s why I always like coming to you with all my problems. You always have great stories to tell that give me solutions to my problems.”
If you think that some of these tales are too far-fetched, I can assure you they are not. I repeat, they are excerpts from actual conversations and well … I’ve shown you the benefit derived from them. Need I add that storytelling is one of those skills that will always hold you in good stead?