I spend much of my day trying to come up with the right questions and stories to engage my clients. When I’m talking about “strategic planning”, I avoid trotting out the overwhelming statistics that prove strategic planning is good. Instead, I like to tell about the first ten speed bike I had as a twelve-year-old.
Soon after I got the bike I bought my first set of wrenches. I liked to tweak the brakes and gear changers not because there was anything wrong with them, but because it helped me figure out how they work. I like understanding how things work.
So there I am bombing down the street on my new and newly adjusted bike, head down and peddling like spit, trying to figure out why the rear gears weren’t shifting properly. A knowing look usually comes on my audience’s faces at the point. They can see where this story is going. Which is me into the back of a parked car. So hard that when I flew over the handle bars the trunk had already popped open & I ended up inside it.
My point being that we have to regularly look up from what we’re doing in our business (and our lives) to steer. If we get so caught up in the day-to-day we lose sight of where we’re headed. Sometimes to disastrous results.
A big part of telling this story is making it concrete and letting them think it was their idea. The right pauses and body language makes it memorable and convincing.
Sam Harrison has made a list of eleven ways to sell creative ideas, which include using stories and pauses.