Steve jobs is acknowledged as one of the finest business speakers of his age.
He had a way of commanding a stage, speaking to the audience as if he was talking to each of them personally and yet always managing to get his message across.
He took presenting very seriously and spent hours crafting and rehearsing every talk he gave. But he also used a number of techniques to help him along the way. One of which was storytelling.
Now, telling a story is a very powerful way of engaging an audience whilst also getting a message across and has been used by a lot more people than the late, great Mr Jobs. In fact all the great speakers have used this technique over the centuries – why do you think parables were invented?
This graph shows the exponential way my last business grew from a standing start to a shade under £40m in a decade. All organic growth and without a marketer in sight.
Now, I sometimes use this in seminars as one way to establish my credibility with the audience.
But here’s the skinny. If all I do is whack that on the screen and tell them what it represents; well, at best it’ll be dull but at worst I’ll come across as boastful and perhaps a tad pretentious (moi? Sûrement pas).
But, if I tell the story of how the business started and include setbacks like when we lost our senior partner after 18 months or when I came very close to a nervous breakdown after 3 years because I felt I had to do it all myself.
The flat growth between 1992 and 1993 was due to me hiring a consultant to help reshape the business which was as disruptive as it was necessary. Why, what, how and the final outcome – all great stuff!
Or what about the time we nearly went bankrupt because we broke one of the most fundamental laws of business?
I could also mention the addition of two new services in 1993 and 1995. A risk, yes, but they helped us to create a truly unique service. If a client wanted a truly complete IT resource service they could only get it from us.
I could talk about the massive growth that followed on from us working with the consultant and the addition of these new services.
If I had time I could also tell our “company sale story” which began at a drunken Christmas lunch in 1997 and ended on November the 7th 1998 when we trousered the cash and let a crazy bunch of Americans take possession of the business. What a ride THAT was!!!!!
Sadly, telling the story in print is a pale alternative to telling it live, but hopefully you get the message. In case you don’t here it is:
“Want to get a message across? Tell it in a story”
If it worked for Steve Jobs, it can work for us, too. “Let me tell you this story – you’ll love it………”
You can download a PDF version of this article here