Thank you for listening to the Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! One of the greatest challenges for aspiring leaders is to learn how to influence people to take action. The secret? Learning how to be a great storyteller! In this week’s episode, Jeff is joined by entrepreneur Ty Bennet. Ty built a multimillion-dollar business with his brother at just 21 years old. Today, he is an international speaker, author. Join Ty and Jeff as they discuss the power of storytelling for businessmen and leaders.
What prompted you to get interested in storytelling?
My brother and I were running a business together. After I got married, he messaged to tell me that we made $800, and he put my half in my bank account. When I told my wife, she was concerned and asked me if I could be successful in this business. I said yes, and it inspired me to invest in my skills. The first thing I did was start recording my presentations so I could improve them. I realized that the thing that caused people to engage was stories! So I focused on that. As I got better at telling stories, our business got better.
Why should people use storytelling?
Storytelling is one of the most underrated skills in business. You can customize your story for different audiences. The oxytocin that is released when people make you smile or laugh builds trust. They move you to take action. As a leader, storytelling allows you to inspire your team and train them to help them improve.
How has storytelling helped you overcome barriers in your career?
At the beginning of my career, I wasn’t making many sales, so my coach told me to ask the last five people why they said no. They all said it was because of my age. I decided to look into other young entrepreneurs and their stories. Ultimately, I turned it into a story I could use to open every conversation. I would open by saying, “I kind of feel like a young Bill Gates.” Bill was 19 when he dropped out of school and told everyone that he wanted a personal computer in every house. I then explained that I wasn’t saying I will be as rich as him or as successful as him. But I did know I had something to offer. When I developed this story, I started making sales because people were engaged and saw me as credible.
Why is storytelling so important for leaders?
Leaders use stories in three main areas, mentorship, to validate, to handle objections. Sometimes leaders don’t want to put the time in or they think they don’t need it. The work of storytelling is spending time thinking about it. A good story often includes vulnerability, which can intimidate some leaders. But when you admit that you don’t know all the answers you can develop even more credibility.
Keys to telling a story
First focus on the setup. Introduce the main character and set the scene. Do this quickly so you don’t lose your audience’s attention!
Then identify the struggle. This portion gives the audience something to connect with.
Solution - Show how the character reaches their solution. Remember the main point of your story. Is it to present a product? Inspire? Cause laughter? Inform? Filter all of the details you use in the story by determining what is necessary to help reach this solution.
Remember, being concise will allow you to be compelling. Also, don’t just talk at people. Create moments where you can check in with your audience and speak directly to them. Your goal should be to keep it conversational so that people stay engaged and get the point you are trying to get across.
Record your next presentation and listen back to it. As you listen to the recording, ask yourself these three questions. 1. Am I doing anything to distract from my message like saying “um,” “like,” or “ah”? 2. Did I use a story? If so, how did the audience respond to it? 3. Was the main point of my presentation clear? You can get a good picture of whether the presentation was clear by looking at whether people took the desired action after the presentation.
Come up with one story that you can use the next time you meet with a client. Start by thinking about what point you might want to convey to the client (solution), then work backward to the struggle your client is currently facing. Get very specific about the problem and find a story with a similar problem. For example, if your client’s problem has to do with being overwhelmed, find a story that has a theme of being overwhelmed, not insecure, or frustrated.
Practice your story (or stories!). Tell them to your spouse, a friend, or even a coworker. Ask them to give you feedback and be willing to make improvements based on their suggestions. Focus on the clarity and engagement of the story. Don’t worry about it being perfect right away. As you get more comfortable with the story and receive more feedback, you will improve!