“Who wants to have friends”? Whenever I ask my clients this, everybody puts their hands up. Who doesn’t want to connect, to feel part of the story of someone else’s life? Why do we forget that our potential customers feel the same? When we bombard them with jargon and what we think they want to hear, it doesn’t work. Here are four tips that will help you tell a genuine story. It’s not about pretending to be best friends, it is about being you.
1 — The 7 second rule.People make judgements within seven seconds, Malcolm Gladwell says 2. So make those seconds count — Look someone in the eye, smile, shake the hand well and start the conversation with a question — a question that will genuinely open someone up. Listen to the answer and ask a follow up. People love to share.
2 — Share genuine anecdotes by listening well. There is nothing worse when you are talking and someone says “Oh that reminds of the time I … climbed K2 with a goat strapped to my back”! If you have something to say that is relevent it will come out as a result of listening. Breathe in to help you do this. Breathing makes you fully present and focusses the eyes. When it is right, the moment will present itself and your anecdote will add to theirs.
3 — When you do share, speak in short, sharp sentences. It’s amazing though how performance pressure and adrenalin can mess with your brain. Combat this by remembering to breathe at the end of sentences to pace yourself. Focus on pronouncing your words so you can actually hear where they are going. If in doubt, end the sentence. You can always start it again the next second.
4 — End your story well. Less is more. We often feel we have to repeat a phrase again and again to get our point across. Don’t do it. Trust that your story is good enough, that the audience is clever enough to follow a simple story line. Kids love simple short stories, so do adults! If people want to know more, they will ask.