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Be More Persuasive by Telling Compelling Stories

Be More Persuasive by Telling Compelling Stories
The gist: Be more persuasive and inspirational by telling better stories. Five simple steps will help you form perfect arguments. When I was a kid, my mom had stories for everything: why you should brush your teeth, eat vegetables, and not talk to strangers or do drugs.


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Stories = motivators for changing behaviors

Stories = motivators for changing behaviors

Changing the way someone thinks or acts requires confrontation. And people don’t usually like that. But when you tell a story—something people connect with—it can change the reaction you get.




A story does 2 powerful things to persuade:

A story does 2 powerful things to persuade:
  1. It removes direct confrontation: you’re laying out a scenario for people to follow;
  2. It forces the listener to take part in the story: he'll place himself in the story and see himself doing what the successful person in the story did.



How to Tell a Convincing Story:

How to Tell a Convincing Story:
  1. Identify the desired behavior change.
  2. Find the benefits of the change.
  3. Stoke fear to instigate the change.
  4. Identify major objections.
  5. Find stories and examples to weave together.



The 2 drivers

The 2 drivers

We are motivated to take action by 2 drivers:

  • The anticipation of a gain.
  • Fear of a loss.





Storytelling is a complex cognitive task on our mind, requiring an application of our short-term, working, and long-term memory.

Remembering Complex Stories

Earlier writings of folktales and complex stories required the story writers to use some crafting of words and sentences, using repetition and rhyme to aid recall.

Effective Storytelling

Elders and the aged people are able to tell stories in a more engrossing, entertaining way.

This may be due to a difference in the emotional quotient or the ability to capture and narrate human emotions and feelings, as opposed to mere facts and figures of a story.

The Data Scientist presentation style

The Data Scientist uses data, analytics, facts, and figures to make his point and persuade the audience. 

Pros: This presentation style delivers data, information and analy...

The Storyteller presentation style

The Storyteller can tap emotions and weave a persuasive narrative.

An audience may not remember every single data point or statistic, but they will remember a great story or emotional connection.

Pros: Focused on making an emotional connection with the audience.

Cons: Not suitable for audiences that just want a factual answer to a simple question.

The Closer presentation style

The Closer jumps into a presentation, cuts right to the chase, delivers the bottom line and skips all the boring stuff.

It sees the end goal and goes right for it. 

Pros: reduces a presentation to its esssence.

Cons: may be perceived as too harsh or abrupt.

one more idea

Storytelling is...

Storytelling is...
...the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are embellished or improvised in order to better explain the core message.

Why we tell stories

  • Stories solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages;
  • Stories bring people together: stories connect us through the way we feel and respond to them;
  • Stories inspire and motivate, by tapping into people’s emotions and baring both the good and bad.

Good stories are …

  • Entertaining. Good stories keep the reader engaged and interested in what’s coming next.
  • Educational. Good stories spark curiosity and add to the reader’s knowledge bank.
  • Universal. Good stories are relatable to all readers and tap into emotions and experiences that most people undergo.
  • Organized. Good stories follow a succinct organization that helps convey the core message and helps readers absorb it.
  • Memorable. Whether through inspiration, scandal, or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind.