The art of the tell, Part 1

Why do you need to tell stories? Because today everyone — whether they know it or not — is in the emotional transportation business. More and more, success is won by creating compelling stories that have the power to move partners, shareholders, customers and employees to action. Simply put, if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it.Historically, stories have always been able to ignite action, moving people to action. But only recently has it become clear that purposeful stories – those created with a specific mission in mind – are absolutely essential to persuading others to support a vision, dream or cause.

Peter Guber, whose executive and entrepreneurial accomplishments have made him a success in multiple industries, has long relied on purposeful storytelling to motivate, win over, shape, engage and sell. At a recent USC business after hours event, he described that what began as knack for telling stories as an entertainment industry executive has, through years of perspiration and inspiration, evolved into a set of principles that anyone can use to achieve their goals. In The Art of the Tell, Guber shows how to move beyond soulless PowerPoint slides, facts and figures to create purposeful stories that serve as powerful calls to action.

Peter opened the evening with a Winston Churchill Quote, “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” This was a humble quote to open with for an entertainment executive who has been involved in films that have garnered over 120 academy nominations. But, he also quipped that he’s made films that made people want to walk out of the theater, even if the theater was a plane flying at 30,000 feet!

Childhood stories? We all have them. My all time favorite quote from the evening when talking about using stories from our childhood was, “Those early stories lie in the weeds of your mind.” Peter’s first story of the night came from his childhood. He described sitting by his window watching a severally disabled child a few years younger than him trying to ride a bike. The bike was a crazy contraption that seems to have training wheels on front and back. The boy’s father helped him on the bike, the kid would make it a few feet and fall off. He would struggle for what felt like 30 minutes to get back on the bike. This happened day after day. Peter described the angst he had every day watching this happen. Then, one day, he caught it out of the corner of his eye — the boy and the bike were flying down the street, he had done it, he was riding a bike. After many attempts, he had succeeded. But, Peter explained, as he looked back on this story, he recognized that failure would not have been continuing to fall off the bike, it would have been failing to get back on the bike.

The stories of our failures are memorable, core to what we have learned and become. Peter put it best when he said, “Inside all great failures are the seeds of success.”

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One thought on “The art of the tell, Part 1

  1. Pingback: The art of the tell, part 2 | Fast Track Tools by Ken Revenaugh

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