You know who KNOWS storytelling? These folks-Scott Lindsey, Hunter Girl, Randy Finchum and Dan Demay. Songwriters. I had the pleasure of Emceeing their part of the Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriters Festival last night and as I sat and watched them play the audience like a harp (no, that was not tears in my eyes, it’s allergy season) it makes me want to level up my own game.
As you listen you become acutely aware that every single syllable is measured, every beat considered and like grandma’s soup recipe, no two are the same. They completely get it. They understand how to plug the power of words into your emotions as easily as plugging their guitar into an amp.
For the successful ones, did it happen overnight? Nope. As Randy Finchum says about new songwriters “Stick with it. Give yourself time to be amazed.” Good storytelling is an art.
But the problem is, many people think that storytelling is just for the songs, books, movies and TV shows. Or they don’t craft the story well and it falls like a toddler on ice. I call that being narrow minded, unplanned, unfocused and unprepared.
If you want to take the boredom out of your boardroom, use less charts and more heart. Find the stories that fit, that exemplify the point you are trying to make and get those in the room to feel something. ANYTHING! Reach out to them in a way that hits one of the seven emotions of anger, contempt, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, or surprise. Stir them up, make them sit up, lean in and pay attention. Don’t be the next person in the meeting making me gaze at the wall trying to determine if that is Mocha brown or is it more tawny with a pinch of umber mixed in because I couldn’t give two rats asses less about your presentation.
Get with the program people! Become a tailor with the fabric of humanity: Storytelling.
Because every time you don’t do it well, it’s like a song that sucks and, unfortunately, your audience can’t turn you off.