One day a letter arrived in an envelope.
Individually addressed to me, by name, with a live stamp not a meter imprint. In the return address corner was the name of someone I knew.
Not a friend. Not a neighbor. It was from a peer of mine, another professional speaker who also lived in Phoenix where I was living at the time. It does not matter the relationship, the important thing, I recognized the name of the person who sent me the envelope. So I opened it.
America sorts its mail over a wastebasket. You have to make the cut or nothing else matters. So I opened the envelope. The letter I took out was headlined: “I Suppose You’re Wondering Why I’m Writing To You About A Plumber.”
I thought to myself: yep, I do wonder why he’s writing to me about a plumber. Heck, I don’t even get a Christmas card from this guy. We’re in the same kind of business and live in the same town. So, why is he writing to me about a plumber?
So I read the letter to find out.
And that too is important.
First you have to get your letter opened. You cannot just assume that’s going to happen. Then you have to get your letter read. You cannot assume that’s going to happen either. Curiosity used here, not always the ideal strategy, but when used effectively it’s a beautiful thing.
The letter told a story of this peer having a party at his home on a Saturday night to which I had not been invited, when a pipe under the bar in the den started leaking, a mess ensued…
Storytelling. Everyone likes a good story. You just read the beginning of one of the stories I tell that people love to hear. In fact, people come up to me all the time who heard me tell it years earlier and ask me to tell it again.
People remember better with stories. You can teach lessons with stories. They can help bring deeper understanding. And they’re one of the most effective ways to sell.
Stories are effective because we grew up hearing stories. Actually storytelling predates writing so it’s something we are conditioned to love.
When you were young, you heard bedtime stories and had story time at school before you even learned to read. You share stories with your friends and laugh about “the time when…” with your family.
They’ve been used in every culture to educate, entertain, preserve history, and instill principles and values.
Stories can connect people and cross barriers of age, culture, economic status, and more.
Tell a story that catches someone’s attention and draws them in, and you can make them care about something they may have never cared about or even known about previously.
Of course this isn’t by accident, this is by design.
Telling a story that immediately captures your reader’s attention and keeps them intrigued and reading to the end is an art form.
An art form worth learning. Because storytelling done right is like a magnet. People are compelled to read it. And you can use this to create anticipation of what happens next.
NOTE: The best stories have a strong underlying theme where something greater is being said. To create this there is a roadmap—a constant.
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