BIC Media News

Why Stories Matter

The only thing someone remembers from your conversation is your story. “Facts tell and stories sell,” meaning the facts and figures are forgotten, but the stories remain in our memories. Everyone has about the same amount of memory, but it’s the ability to recall that is different. People more easily recall things that are humorous or ridiculous, so they tend to remember stories.

“We are programmed through our evolutionary biology to be both consumers and creators of story,” says Jonah Sachs, author of “Winning the Story Wars.”

So what is a story? Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of Business Network International, describes a story as “a fact wrapped in an emotion, compelling us to take action that transforms us in some way.” Most, or maybe all, of our decisions are made by our subconscious, which is unable to tell the difference between a story or dream and reality. New metaphors have the power to create new realities. Our subconscious mind makes a decision, and our conscious mind works on ways to justify that decision. The greatest speakers, authors, coaches, and management and sales professionals are storytellers who communicate their vision in words, stories and metaphors.

Most storytellers make the same mistake. It is difficult to understand, but people care little about you. They only care about two things: 1. Whether you can solve their problem, and 2. Whether you can help them generate more money. So why do people spend so much time telling stories about themselves? Donald Miller, bestselling author of “Building a StoryBrand,” says the secret every phenomenally successful business owner understands is that your customer should be the hero of your story (instead of your brand). What if the problem was the way we talked about the product? What if we used a story to talk about the product instead?

Stories are told for many different reasons, such as increasing the value of an idea, thought, product or service; making business presentations; changing the atmosphere or behavior in an exchange; or reducing resistance.

Roberto Monaco, co-founder of InfluenceOlogy, says, “Rather than speaking to inform, speak to transform.” Stories do this best.

Ron “The Storyteller” White, author of “The Power of Story,” says the reason stories are so powerful is that, rather than directly telling someone to do something, the story creates images or pictures that the subconscious mind can use to make a decision. Some of the best stories come from our own personal experiences where we showed vulnerability, struggles and bad moments, followed by the way we overcame problems to be successful. You can also tell someone else’s story and get similar results.

Storytelling is a skill and can be learned. A good story uses conflict to create interest and puts the narrator in the position of a guide during the journey to success. As such, we’ve already begun the relationship that will lead to a customer making a commitment to do business with us. A good example is the way BIC Alliance Founder and CEO Earl Heard tells his story in “It’s What We Do Together That Counts.” You may know him now as a successful entrepreneur, but things were much different when he began. He and Bodi had to overcome adversity through hard work, perseverance and kindness to others. Heard progressed from a journeyman carpenter to a training coordinator and then began his journey to the top, but it was filled with detours and setbacks: business failures, family turmoil, betrayal and near-death experiences. In spite of the many trials he faced, Heard lived to tell a story of success with an enduring faith in God, which he hopes will inspire all who read his story to pursue greater peace, happiness and success in their lives.

Written by Gail Stolzenburg, Contributing Writer, BIC Media Solutions.  This article is featured in the April issue of BIC Magazine.

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