By Gino Blefari
This week my travels found me in Charleston, West Virginia to meet with the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Great Expectations Realty and I had the opportunity to sit next to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin at dinner Thursday night then had a brief meeting at the office of Senator Shelley Moore Capito the following day. After West Virginia it was off to Minneapolis for meetings with the HomeServices of America, Inc. board and then Northern California where I had lunch with Carmine Gallo, best-selling author of one of my favorite books, The Storyteller’s Secret. Carmine is also a keynote speaker at this month’s upcoming Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Summit Conference in Palm Springs, Sept. 18-20 and I can’t wait for him to share his wisdom with the crowd!
Our theme for 2016 Summit is “connecting” and this fits squarely with Carmine’s philosophy: The best way to connect, he says, is through the stories we tell. Think about it. What is it we really remember from meetings, trips or big events? Is it the gate number for our flight? Is it the very date a particular conference call took place? No. Those are details and they’re easily forgotten. What we remember are the stories we take away from these experiences and the stories others have shared with us. Here are three traits of inspiring storytellers, as defined by Carmine in his book:
- Inspired storytellers are inspired themselves. Have you ever heard someone give a speech but he or she isn’t passionate about the topic at hand? Stories are how we must communicate but passion and inspiration is what makes a story come alive. Don’t just tell inspiring stories, be inspired by them yourself.
- Inspiring storytellers aren’t always born; they’re made. Just because you haven’t perfected the art of storytelling today doesn’t mean you won’t get there tomorrow. As with anything, it takes immense amounts of preparation and practice to execute on a story and make that story come alive for your audience.
- Inspiring storytellers are eager to tell their backstory because it’s a gift that shaped their life, career and business. Not all stories start with happy beginnings. Think about some of the most successful businesspeople in the world—Oprah, Tony Robbins, Larry Ellison—and how they often credit the hardships they endured with helping them find lasting success. We aren’t best defined by our big wins; we’re best defined by how we overcame obstacles to make those big wins happen.
So what’s the message? If you’re looking to connect with someone, do it through stories. Because stories are, after all, the currency of effective communication, allowing us to “buy in” to the idea of connecting with someone else by relating to—and retaining—the information they’ve conveyed.