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#174: Have a Good Set of Stories Ready

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, November 12, 2009
Updated: Friday, November 13, 2009
I've found anecdotes are a great way to get across ideas for clients. Are there any sources of good stories I can use?

Stories are memorable and resonate because people can see themselves in the situation expressed in the story. There are certainly sources of stories and anecdotes that you might use but I would suggest a more effective alternate approach. First, decide what point you want to make. Your consulting model probably involves a number of messages you want to get. Perhaps you want to make a point about loyalty, planning, respect, diligence, innovation, or some other aspect of your consulting services. These are the foundations around which you can develop and refine stories you can tell repeatedly.

Second, look first in your own experience as a basis for stories. Regardless whether it is a recent event, from your BC (Before Consulting) industry experience, or a story relating to a client project, stories from your experience provide more credibility. Your personal experience provides a richer basis of visualization and more opportunity to craft a nuanced version of how you might have reacted differently than you did. Although these are your own stories, their impact will improve as you hone the message with each retelling.

Tip: Pick 5-10 messages you want to express. Use a storytelling guide like Storytelling Skills to assure you have includes the setting plot, character, theme, conflict, and resolution. Write up and practice those stories and, after each telling, revise to improve its effectiveness. As you find a good replacement story, add it to the mix.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  intellectual property  knowledge assets  presentations 

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