The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 11, 2011 • Issue 11:04:01
Peter Guber, Chief Executive Officer of Mandalay Entertainment Group, knows how to tell a story, and he makes a strong case that anyone who wants to soar in business, or in any worthwhile endeavor, needs to learn to spin a yarn. You don't have to become a performer; for the purposes of moving people to take a particular action, a well chosen anecdote, or even just the mention of the right story to the right person at the right time, can do the trick.
As an example of the latter, Guber described how Bill Clinton's political future looked bleak after he lost the New Hampshire primary in 1992.
"Not since 1952 had a candidate won the presidency without first winning New Hampshire, and since the Golden Rule of politics is 'Money flows where the vote goes,' this loss put Clinton's organization in fiscal crisis," Guber wrote. Clinton needed to raise $90,000 in one day.
Clinton called Guber and said, "Peter, this is High Noon," likening his situation to that of Will Kane, the sheriff in the movie by that name, who had the support of only one boy as he stood to face a notorious gang of outlaws arriving on the noon train.
In describing his response, Guber wrote, "Those words transported me emotionally, and I immediately got it. When the noon whistle blew in the movie, the hero faced his demons, inside and out, and braved his way to victory. And that's just what our hero, Bill Clinton, would do if I played the role of that lone supporter and backed him despite the odds."
Guber presents a spectrum of other prominent people who have used purposeful storytelling to attract, persuade and motivate others. These include Magic Johnson, Wolfgang Puck, Larry King, Nelson Mandela, Carl Sagan, David Copperfield, Tony Robbins and many others. Guber shares his own storytelling successes, too.
Some key points Guber makes in the book are that emotions play just as important a role as intellect when people are making decisions, and stories reach people's emotions in ways no spreadsheet ever will; storytelling allows the teller to show vulnerability, and that builds trust, which is essential to closing a deal; and a story needs a structure in which a hero is presented with a challenge, struggles to meet the challenge and resolves it in a way that leads to a call to action (the hero could be a fictional character, the listener or even a community).
If you don't use storytelling in your business, this book will likely motivate you to do so. It'll also provide plenty of tips on how to go about it to gain maximum results.
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