Gideon For-mukwai grew up in central Africa, in a culture steeped with storytelling and folklore. Most of his education was conducted through the medium of story. Some people have a flair for storytelling, a rare gift for the craft. But if you aren’t inherently skilled at storytelling, he believes you can learn the skill. It all comes down to crafting stories with episodic moments that live in someone’s memories. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to learn his secret!
Outline of This Episode
- [1:20] Why stories are an ASSET
- [3:39] Can you become a gifted storyteller?
- [4:58] The 3 elements of storytelling
- [8:09] An episodic moment leads to action
- [9:45] Resources Gideon recommends
- [12:01] Gideon’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
- [14:49] The right story changes hearts and minds
Stories are an ASSET
Stories are an invisible asset that should have a strong purpose:
- A: A story allows you to get attention from those around you.
- S: They stimulate interest and curiosity.
- S: Stories sow seeds of wisdom, seeds of persuasion, etc. in the minds of our audiences.
- E: Stories should “emogetate,” a word of Gideon’s creation. Stories allow us to emotionally engage, educate, and entertain.
- T: Stories build trust one person at a time, one idea at a time, and one experience at a time.
So how do you craft stories so that they are an asset? By using the 3 elements of storytelling.
The 3 elements of storytelling
Gideon believes a story that sells consists of 3 elements:
- The here and the now: This is an identifiable place between the teller and the listener.
- The down and out: This is an area or place where the teller transports the listener to create tension. It’s a place where a listener thinks they could fall into a deep dark hole. The question is, how do they get out?
- The future or the aspiration: Where do they want to go?
For a story to be persuasive in a sales environment, it has to be able to convey relatability. The teller must come across as someone who’s been there and faced the challenges they’ve faced.
Secondly, the “down and out” scenario has to be realistic enough that the listener is thinking they could be in that situation. It needs to be an episodic moment that lives in their memory when they think of your story. They need to think about what they would do to get out of that situation.
What future aspirations do they want? It must be a hopeful place where everyone wants to be.
Great storytellers create episodic moments
A great storyteller needs to be relatable. The story needs to make you credible. They need to believe in you enough to pull out their wallet, after all. The person must be memorable. You need to create an episodic moment that your listener feels strongly about, so real that they feel that they were there. If they don’t feel that moment, they won’t remember you and they certainly won’t share your story with others. An episodic moment leads to action.
Gideon’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
- Don’t announce a story, especially if you’re speaking to adults. Embed it and dive right in.
- Don’t be the hero of the story. Make it someone else.
- Don’t tell a story without a gift—a meaning that they can glean from it by the end.
- Add in elements of episodic moments: moments when someone can feel like they were observing every detail—colors, smells, sights, sounds, etc.
- Add in obstacles and challenges to make the story interesting, engaging, and worth listening to.
- Plan for surprises. Don’t let a story end without something surprising. Without novelty, a story is bland. If it’s bland, the amygdala tunes out and your story will compel nothing.
For more storytelling tips and strategies from Gideon, listen to the whole episode!
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Gideon For-mukwai
Connect With Paul Watts
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