Tell Stories If You Want to Influence Effectively


Stories can be as short as a sentence or as long as an epic. Effective stories are the next best thing to an actual experience (a powerful influencer). They place the listener into the action in an empathic connection. If your pulse speeds up while watching an action movie, or you have ever cried over a scene in a movie, you know the power of empathy at work. The best television shows (such as The Wire) build powerful empathy for all of their characters.

Stories build trust. Research shows that a story all by itself is more effective at building trust than a story followed by a statistic.  Kouzes and Posner’s book The Leadership Challenge lists ‘honesty’ as the #1 characteristic that people look for in a leader. This was true over time (more than 20 years of research) and throughout all countries. Trust and empathy are two major drivers for increased resonance.

Why not try telling some simple stories the next time you are attempting to influence in a low-stakes outcome? By starting small, you’ll have something to build on. If you like the results, you may want to collect a few stories that seem particularly effective for your influence moments.

Learn more: MBTI Team Quest – Discover and leverage the various ways your people make decisions, strategize and access information, using this organizational standard. Team members begin to recognize the strengths that other types bring to the team, and the power that comes from multiple types working together.

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