On the first date, you can’t ask your date “Will you marry me?“ That’s just not polite. On the first date, you have to be likable, credible and relatable so that you can earn another date.
In business as in dating, you have to build rapport first. You can’t short-circuit the process. If you rush, you ‘d crash. If you crash, you ‘d burn and that ’s it. Game over!
It begs the question, what is the best way to use storytelling in gaining more prospects, leads, buzz, and referrals? My theory is that you use your stories to ignite interest because interest and trust are fundamental in the formation of social capital over time. No interest, no ties. No ties means no bonds of trust.
So what must you do with your storytelling?
Show Interest in Your Date or Prospect
Besides sharing your story, be sure to let your date to share his or her own story. Create enough space to listen to his or her story and ideas. In other words, get to know what makes them happy or sad. If you fail to show interest in his or her story, you are missing the point. When you do it right, you generate likability. Likability is key to getting a second date. In other words, you are relatable.
Highlight Common Ground
It is very important to share ideas or stories that illustrate common ground. This will enhance the depth of your connection in an amiable way. Consider highlighting common aspirations, insecurities, cravings, frustrations or nostalgia. This builds credibility. Credibility is at the root of trust.
Offer your point of view without coming across as judgmental. Your point of view helps your date (prospect) to see your view of the world. It also draws your date closer to your world view. This evokes empathy. When there is empathy, there is potential for a shift (tipping point) in opinion from lukewarm to warm or hot.
Frailty Not Haughty
It is very tempting to tell your story as a hero. That’s a deadly trap. It is called hubris. Instead in your story, show how you turned your pitfalls into windfalls, thanks to someone else. By sharing your fears, trials, and flaws, you show your authenticity and humility. Humility is the cousin of humanity, they ‘re both great pals.
What is the essence of sharing your story? Remember this, your story is a gift to your date or prospect. You share it to engage, enlighten, and encourage. It is your duty to make it memorable with a soundbite. When you do it right, your date will remember your gift for a long time.
The next time you share a story in a business setting, remember to encapsulate it with a transformational phrase that reflects how you turned your meltdown into a milestone.