The Art of Persuasion - 7 Steps to a Successful Story Telling
The biggest challenge to human intelligence and confidence was the advent of "Microsoft Power Point" - Master 10 Cents of Utopia 2025.
I mean seriously! This tool has ceaselessly produced masterclass boring sessions of slides galore. Dull brown, beige, yellow slides with continuous text read by the wizards, drowning their listeners in a tunnel full of evil 'fonts' and 'action buttons'. We can go on and on and can relate to the past and upcoming meetings where our colleagues equipped with their USB sticks chuck along 70 slide presentations and expect the audience not to yawn.
I had never been a people's person, it would give me the chills to face a customer and the most annoying part of the whole interaction used to be the fear of rejection. I recently read a great article by Stephen Light (http://bit.ly/2cJvxR2) called 'you are not alone' where he beautifully articulated the strength to face your fears. The 2 fears; fear of unknown and the fear of rejection has held so many of us to move ahead and contribute the gift of our abilities to humanity. We are all created smart, I am a firm believer that there is no single individual created by God to have a useless life.
So here's the deal before my article turns into the same boring power point rhetoric you faced at work today. The world needs stories, we are so bogged up by the challenges of life that a good sitcom or a movie acts as a stress reliever. Why then we don't turn our meetings and sales sessions into 'Plays' and 'Theatrical Performances' worthy of standing ovations. These are times of Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, the legacy of Steve Jobs, the bewildering intelligence of IBM Watson, the diminishing power of hardware and the rise of software and so on. There are so many stories all around us that it would take years before we can comprehend the tip of the iceberg. My son Sohaib has recently enrolled at the University of Edinburgh and he sent me a message yesterday saying that he hates the library? Why does he hate this library, because he just can't figure out how to read all these books while studying for his classes. This question had been a story! The answer to this riddle of hating the library had a moment of suspense and it lit my day knowing that my adores this beautiful institution of learning.
So here are my 7 steps to story telling, may it be for a sales pitch or for a presentation:
- PREPARE: Know your subject very very well as the questions coming your way can be daunting. Know all related subjects as well and when I say all I really mean all. Blackberry stopped making phones and this news is from yesterday, I can assure you that many people still aren't aware of this news. Use related and relevant information to your advantage and shuffle information as much as possible making sure you keep your goal in mind. Come back quickly to the main topic once the distraction is finished. Its like throwing smoke bombs to distract the enemy but you keep your focus on the target and this target is your subject being delivered or the sales pitch.