What a difference a story makes

If you don’t think your storytelling ability matters to clients, then allow me to share this story with you.

One bright and beautiful sunny day, a blind old man was sitting by the roadside begging for money. Next to him a cardboard sign read, “I’m blind. Please help me with some money.” None of the passersby donated. Then a girl saw the sign and stopped. She turned the sign around and wrote some words on it. After that, miraculously, almost everyone who passed by donated a dollar or two to him. What the girl wrote was, “This is such a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.”

This wasn’t very different from what the man wrote. Why did the girl’s version make a difference in donations?

“I’m blind, please help me,” was telling the truth. While, “This is such a beautiful day, but I cannot see it,” tells a story. The truth is logical but emotionless. A story, on the other hand, is warm enough to touch any heart. Storytelling is a powerful and convincing way to communicate. A good storyteller can lead the audience through an emotional trial of laughing, crying, and eventually closing the deal.

Here are three steps for improving your storytelling abilities.

  1. Look at the story content preparation. Lay out and create a beautiful scenario, such as a bright and beautiful sunny day.
  2. Understand how to tell a story that moves people. Try an unexpected twist to the scenario, such as the girl helping the blind man.
  3. Prepare story props. It’s the happy ending influenced by what the girl wrote.

Financial advisors usually offer similar products. A distinguishing factor for clients is how well you can tell an impactful story. If you don’t have your own story to tell, you can always borrow someone else’s story — and make sure to tell it better than anyone else!

Esther Hu Mong Siem, of Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, has been an MDRT member since 2011. See more from her in her 2021 MDRT Annual Meeting Virtual Event presentation


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