Storytelling Stumbling Blocks: Why Saying Too Much Complicates the Persuasion Equation

In previous posts, I introduced what I like to call “situational persuasion success stories.” These are pre-created retellings of how you previously helped improve someone’s condition in given situations. This elevated skill set can yield tremendous results in your persuasion efforts.

Just as dynamic situational persuasion success stories require certain elements to work, they also need to steer away from these four stumbling blocks:

1. Too much attention to detail.

What’s wrong with this story intro?

“Wait until you hear what happened to one of my colleagues, Jason! It was last Thursday — er, no, Wednesday. No, OK, it was Thursday. He called me around 10:30 in the morning; no, it was really closer to 11, and … .”

You’ve lost your listener at “er.” It doesn’t matter what day of the week it was or what time of day. If it’s not absolutely crucial to the story, no one really cares. Make your point, and keep moving.

2. Too disjointed.

Try following this story:

“I had one client recently who wanted to go ahead with a particular project. Well, it was a problem at first, because he didn’t think his company could afford it. But now he’s glad he partnered with us for the project. See, the company was just a small start-up eight years ago, and then they ultimately went with our best offer … .”

If, in your situational persuasion success story, you flit from you convincing the client, to the client having a problem, to that company enjoying the results of your efforts, to how you helped solve the problem, your story won’t go anywhere. Consider first introducing the character (a client), then the dilemma, then how you helped solve that dilemma, and finally, how the client is now living happily ever after.

3. Too long.

If you’re talking for more than 15 or 20 seconds at one time, stop. It’s as simple as that. 

4. Lacks authenticity. 

Make sure your situational persuasion success story doesn’t appear corporately vetted or brand-controlled. Today’s consumers are very cognizant of ideas being packaged. If people hear nothing but about how great you are, they will lend less credence to that information — and to you.

How are your situational persuasion success stories evolving?


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *