When was the last time you were completely uninterested in what someone had to say, felt no connection – at all – with their business or them personally…
…but went ahead and gave them your money anyway?
I’m guessing the answer is never, right?
If you want people to buy from you, you have to connect with them. And the only way to do that is to grab their attention – and hold it.
Now, let’s be honest – there are plenty of people out there promoting their businesses with blogs or podcasts or emails that are attention-grabbing – and interesting.
So if you want to stand out from the competition and be the guy who makes the sale, you have to be more than just interesting – you have to be fascinating.
In today’s blog post, I’ll show you how to be the most fascinating person in the room, so that people listen to what you have to say over anyone else, feel a stronger connection with you and your business, and end up feeling excited and lucky to be able to become your customers.
When I was in junior high, I had this one teacher, Mrs. Eversole.
She was nice enough, but she was horrible at keeping her class under control.
I mean, we’re talking spitballs, paper airplanes – the works!
The only time our class ever did behave for her was on story days.
Mrs. Eversole was awesome at telling stories. And these weren’t some lame stories read from a textbook.
These were exciting myths and legends from history, full of violence and danger and drama.
Mrs. Eversole would have us on the edge of our seats, completely focused on every word she said.
It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
After she finished the story, our assignment was usually to put together a skit that retold the story with a modern-day twist. We got to act out the whole thing as if we were the heroes, tackling those same problems today.
It was totally awesome! We loved those classes.
But the next day she’d go back to talking about grammar or something, and out came the spitballs again.
So what was it about her story days that could turn a room full of rowdy middle schoolers into a devoted crowd of fans?
She knew how to make her stories fascinating.
Here’s the thing. The human brain is hardwired to respond to stories.
Researchers have found that when you’re listening to a boring class lecture, or reading a list of bullet points in a blog, the only parts of your brain that are activated are the language processing centers.
But when you listen to a story, suddenly a bunch of other parts of your brain get involved, too.
If the story has action – your brain’s motor cortex lights up. If the story describes the way something looks or smells or feels – your brain’s sensory cortex lights up.
Scientists actually did an experiment where they monitored the brain of a person telling a story and the brains of the people listening. And what they found out was amazing.
The storyteller was able to synchronize her audience’s brain waves with her own.
When the emotional center in her brain was activated by a part of her story – so was her listeners’!
Same for all of her brain’s activity.
She was basically able to transfer her thoughts and feelings into their heads, just by telling them a story.
It’s almost like mind control!
But it’s not mind control – it’s a story.
And you can use the way people respond to stories to help you in your business.
You can use them to make you fascinating.
Now, just telling any story isn’t enough. There are plenty of people out there using stories to help promote their businesses. And yeah, they’re interesting.
But they’re not fascinating.
The way to take your stories from just ‘kind of interesting’ to ‘absolutely, can’t-stop-reading fascinating,’ is to follow these three steps.
1. Tell a really great story.
Not all stories are created equal. Sure, you can tell people how your business was founded, or what happened to you at the store the other day.
But unless you make those stories really great – unless you make people feel like they’re there with you, seeing what you’re seeing, feeling what you’re feeling – your stories won’t have much of an impact.
2. Get your audience’s emotions involved
The stories we remember most are the ones that make us feel a strong emotion.
Maybe it makes you laugh. Maybe it terrifies you. Maybe it makes you feel outraged, or hopeful, or excited.
It doesn’t matter which emotion you tap into – just as long as you tap into one.
3. Most importantly, make your audience a part of the story.
What do most people find more fascinating than anything else?
Themselves, of course!
People love to talk and think about themselves.
And marketers understand this, which is why people sell by talking about the benefits a product will bring you, instead of just listing its features.
But in order to be fascinating, you’ve got to take that a step further.
And make your audience members the heroes in your story.
Sure, they’d rather hear about how your business can help them than about how great your product or service is.
But they’d really rather hear about how, just by buying your product, they can be just as successful as the guy in your story – or how they can avoid being as dumb as the guy in your story, by giving your service a try.
When you give them a way to enter your story, and come out the hero, you’re practically guaranteeing they’ll become customers.
That’s how to be fascinating.
By telling a great story that involves your audience’s emotions and allows them to be the heroes, you’re tapping into a primal trigger that they can’t help but respond to.
Now, we’ve created a guide to help you put together your first fascinating story. It guides you step by step through the process, taking your hum-drum, everyday story and making it something that will not only convert – it will make people want to come back again and again for more.
Answer these simple questions to get started on your story
- First, decide what your fascinating story will be used for.
- Do you need to tell the story of your company’s founding on your About page, and give people a reason to get excited about doing business with you?
- Do you need a story to start a blog post off with, to grab people’s attention – and keep it? Do you need a story to tell in an email, or an interview, or a speech? To entertain, to illustrate, to inspire, to sell
- Now, think of a story that will tie in with that purpose and your business in some way.
- It can be a story from your personal life or your professional life. Something that happened with a customer, or before founding your business, or while shopping at the grocery store.
- It can also be a story about someone else – a famous figure or a complete unknown. As long as it fits your purpose and makes sense in the context of your business, try it out
- How exactly does this story fit in with the purpose you need it for? How will it motivate people to want to do business with you? How will it hold their attention? How will it illustrate a point you’re trying to make
- Now it’s time to flesh out your story. Your readers or listeners should feel that they are right there with you, or right there with the main character, experiencing the story. What details can you include that will give them that feeling.
- What emotions will your story appeal to? Do you want to excite, inspire, frighten, anger, or make people laugh? How will the emotion you choose help your story to serve its purpose
- How will you make your story appeal to this emotion? What words will you use? How will you portray the characters and their actions? Which details will add to the strength of this emotion?
- Finally, how can you make your readers or listeners feel that they can become a part of your story? How can you tie in your story with the rest of what you say to make them see the connection, and want to take action? How can they become the hero of your story? And how will you persuade them to do just that?
- Now you’re ready to put your finished product together. Write your story, making sure to include all the details you came up with above. And when you’re done, come share it with us on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear it!