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Finding your 90-second stories

by Cathleen Lange
I recently attended a discussion led by Steve Slifka of Steelcase, entitled “The Art of Storytelling.” With great presentation style that was neither showy or dull, Steve shared the importance of telling your audience a story. Rather than spewing facts and figures at clients, colleagues, and partners, stories invite people to engage by describing situations, challenges, and solutions.

Bulfinches share 90-second stories with each other as a way to grow internal knowledge and increase our arsenal of meaningful conversations with partners and clients.

7 tips to telling your 90-second stories

  1. People don’t really care what you do, they care why you do it.
  2. Our best stories will come from client experiences.
  3. Too many details will kill a presentation.
  4. It’s okay to tell somebody else’s story.
  5. Smart organizations share 90-second stories all the time, in order to learn from others.
  6. Facts tell, but stories sell. Steve Jobs didn’t pitch the iPod to the pilot audience by telling them about its memory capabilities. He sold it by simply holding it up and saying, “This is 1,000 songs in your pocket.”
  7. Don’t ever open a story by saying, “I’m going to tell you a story” or “let me tell you a story.” You just killed your story. Instead, launch into it as quickly and concisely as possible.

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