Being true to yourself involves showing and sharing emotion. The spirit that motivates most great storytellers is 'I want you to feel what I feel,' and the effective narrative is designed to make this happen. That's how the information is bound to the experience and rendered unforgettable.
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There's a sense of aliveness that comes from connection, shared experience. And you see it in every place. You see it when ball players jump up and down, gather at home plate, hugging, and it's not just because they're winning, it's that shared moment, that feeling of - we enter the world alone, we leave alone.
In any situation that calls for you to persuade, convince or manage someone or a group of people to do something, the ability to tell a purposeful story will be your secret sauce. Telling to win through purposeful stories is situation, industry, gender, demographic, and psychographic-agnostic. It's an all-purpose, everyone wins tool.
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A gun can be dangerous. But a gun can protect you, you can hunt for food with it - you know, the tool itself is a tool. The intention of the party using the tool is a part of the process, right? You know: the knife cuts the steak, stabs the person, saves somebody from danger, cuts somebody out of a car.
My mom used to tell me stories at night, read books to me - and I read 'em over and over and over again. And you know what I learned from that? I went back and looked at everything - Why do I like reading the same stories over and over and over again? What, was I some kind of nincompoop? No - the narrative gave me connection with my mom.
Think about all the great leaders. Think about Obama. Think about Clinton. Think about Nelson Mandela. Think about all the people that we know who are very successful in business, in politics and religion. What are they? They tell purposeful stories. They move people to action by aiming at the heart.
Nothing drew me to the film business. I was propelled by the fear and anxiety of Vietnam. I had been drafted into the Marines. My brother was already serving in Vietnam. I bought, if you will, a stay of execution - both literally and figuratively - and went on to graduate school of business from the law school that I was attending.
The seminal elements of what makes a story great - challenge, struggle, resolution - are the same whether we're talking about story content for a movie such as 'Rain Man,' or telling a purposeful story to forge new business relationships or conclude a fruitful transaction, such as acquiring an NBA franchise.
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Beside every great success are the seeds of enormous failure. In every failure, there's the opportunity seeds of great success. They're not miles apart. So if they're that close together, and if you're really working, you're always gonna have that likelihood that something's not going to work.
I think any new technology that helps connect and create social cohesion is great. But at the end of the day, you and I are analog creatures. We have to take 'oohs and aahs' and convert them to 0s and 1s and then convert them back to 'oohs and aahs.' Narratives that work in social networks are the exchange of stories that are told well.
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Telling purposeful stories is interactive. It's not a monolog. Ultimately, purposeful tellers must surrender control of their stories, creating a gap for the listener(s) to willingly cross in order to take ownership. Only when the listener(s) own the tellers' story and make it theirs, will they virally market it.
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The magic happens when you take facts and figures, features and benefits, decks and PowerPoints - relatively soulless information - and embed them in the telling of a purposeful story. Your 'tell' renders an experience to your audience, making the information inside the story memorable, resonant and actionable.
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