Sweeney Communications

The Story Factor

By Annette Simmons
Basic Books
ISBN 0-465-07807-9

Storytelling moves us to a place where we connect with the things that matter most to us, that influence us to go beyond what we think possible, where we are willing to put ourselves out for others.

Such emotions and feelings are the motivators that move mountains – but they can’t be rationalised or categorised, defined or measured, turned into how-to processes and one-size-fits-all models.

Annette Simmons book speaks to our right brain, our creative side, where she says we find the authenticity and wisdom to influence others. She aims to help us rediscover the oldest tool of influence in human history – telling a good story.

“In order to learn about influence we must leave the comfort of models, linear sequences, and step-by-step recipes. The magic of influence is less in what we say and more in how we say it and who we are.”

There are six types of stories she says will serve us well in our efforts to be persuasive:

  • Who I am stories – that connect to something meaningful to listeners and give them a genuine taste of who we are as well as why they should trust us
  • Why I am here stories – that give a credible explanation of our intentions and personal goals
  • The vision story – that weave peoples’ struggles and frustrations into hope for tomorrow
  • Teaching stories – help us make sense of new skills in meaningful ways
  • Values-in-action stories – that provide an example and help people think for themselves
  • I know what you are thinking stories – that make people wonder if we are reading their minds and dispel their fears.

Annette tells multiple stories as she reveals how to use these six types in business settings. But really she aims to help us rediscover our storytelling skill and confidence that we too can tell great stories.

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