Monday, February 20, 2006

Stories, Stories, Stories

This morning I led a BNI training about delivering a ten minute presentation. BNI members have the opportunity to give such a presentation to members of their chapter. Depending on the size of the chapter, they may only get this chance once per year. Obviously, members don't want to waste this time by delivering information that others don't remember.

The one message I wanted to convey was that stories can make facts and figures come alive. I love being a trainer, because I always learn so much from the participants. Let me tell you what the students helped me to get in touch with this morning.

Descriptions, like name (use a fake one if confidentiality is an issue), age and gender help me to paint my own mental pictures. It sure does make it easier for me to remember the details later.

A benefit told as part of a story delivers the emotional power to catch my attention. For example, Julie Kuney, is co-owner of a local ComfortKeepers, a company that provides non-medical home care. During class she told us about Margie (fake name), a woman who needed to move out of the hospital because her insurance benefits had expired. When Julie talked with Margie, a former school teacher, Margie said," I just want to come home to live."

The challenge was that Margie is bedridden. Julie coordinated all the many details to get Margie's care handled. But the best part of the story for me was that the first dinner Margie had in her home was pizza ordered by ComfortKeepers. Julie told us that Margie said, "This is the first pizza I've had in 8 months. Thank you for making my homecoming so special." Now Julie could have just said, "We go the extra mile to handle the details of your loved one's care which means you don't have to think about it." But instead the story told me how special Julie really is when she thinks about the kind of care she will deliver.

Stories make it easy for me to feel like a presenter is having an individual conversation with me. Even though I already thought highly of Julie, her story this morning makes me want to help her even more. I will be on the lookout for friends and clients to refer to her. I can see that stories help to make a healthy bottom line. I knew that logically before class started, but now I really know it because of what I learned from the the participants. Thanks guys (and gals)!

Do you remember someone you've heard deliver a great presentation? What did this person do to make you remember them?

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