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Business Insight: Businesses can connect through storytelling

Published July 29, 2013 1:27 pm

A good yarn can help businesses succeed.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ty Bennett, who lives in Lehi and is author of "The Power of Storytelling," says stories are a big way to connect with audiences and customers.

When does storytelling work in a business presentation?

Stories make every presentation more engaging, dynamic, compelling and memorable. I believe stories should be applied to all presentations, especially in business because these presentations are about buying in. Stories are an influencers best friend — creating buy in — by engaging the audience emotionally in the story and making the message more attractive. Stores should be:

Relatable • Being able to tell a story instantly connects you with the customer, whether it's a real customer, your kid — whoever is on the other side of your story needs to connect with you. People want to feel as though they connect with and understand the people and brands they do business with. The right story is that relatable connection.

Emotional • Logic may make you think, but emotions make you act. When you are able to engage the emotion of a listener, you can cause them to take action. If you want them to buy your product, adopt your ideas, or even hire you: appeal to their emotions.

Multidimensional • Without a story, you and your product just blend in with others. Compelling stories add context, history and relevancy to you and your products. They can make even the most mediocre things stand out and be seen in a different light. Stories add vibrancy and depth. There's an exact science to a brand and all good brands tell a story whether directly or indirectly.

What must speakers do to stay on point in telling a story?

There is a rule in storytelling that says, "If it is not necessary to say, it becomes necessary not to say." To stay on point and keep your story concise, we need to recognize the purpose of the story and use that as a measuring stick to determine what is put in the story and what is left out. If it doesn't add to the purpose of the story, it should be removed because the more concise the story is, the more compelling it is.

What are other strategies to connect with an audience?

Stories are one of the most universal tools we can use to connect with audiences, but there are many other tools. Shock, controversy and humor are other great ways to engage people. All can be used effectively but also run the risk of backfiring. Stories are a safe and effective way to make a connection. Most people approach a presentation with the goal of perfection. The truth is — it is never perfect. Rather than shooting for perfection with your next presentation, make your goal connection with your audience. When you make a connection, all the imperfections don't matter and it will feel perfect. Stories add value to you and your presentation. If you want to hit a home run — tell a good story. Ty Bennett, author.