Storytelling is important. Especially for us who operates in the Sales, Marketing and Communications part of the world (add Training too, since that is my primary task!). But even the greatest of stories can fail – unless the story itself matches the core message you want to convey to your audience! Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story – Tell to win!
Let me tell you a story…
Just before Christmas, the Belgium company Barco acquired Norwegian projectiondesign, the company I’ve been working in for almost 8 years. projectiondesign has felt like my 2nd home and I have a large number of very passionate, proud and great colleagues – and friends – there. Last Tuesday, (as part of the projectiondesign/Barco joining forces event) at the Barco International Sales Meeting, I got to present the projectiondesign story, our market focus and product range (with a colleague).
Now I have the audience, but which story to tell?
The challenge was to find a story that could easily be passed on to my many (100-ish) new colleagues. It would have to be inspirational and explain who we are and how our new, extended family of colleagues can become a great winning team, and it should preferably be a Norwegian success story, known to the audience. Honestly there are not too many to choose from. I wanted the story about projectiondesign to be about passion, determination and persistence.
I found, I found! The story was…
… of course it had to be Thor Heyerdahl, the great Norwegian adventurer, and one of his expeditions – the Kon-Tiki. I decided to start the presentation with a picture.
This picture represents passion, determination and strong will! Thor Heyerdahl was made famous with his balsa fleet Kon-Tiki, which he used to cross the Pacific Ocean from Peru to an Island (Raroia) in the French Polynesia. He was a man on a mission to prove that immigration to the islands could have come from Peru – and not necessarily the immigration paths the traditional scientists believed!
The passion, persistence and determination – made him a fantastic success!
Did it work?
Well. I would always love to deliver my presentation again. But I do think the message was well received – and that we all can be a great success together in the new, stronger Barco family – if we all bring our passion, persistence and determination into creating the team that reaches for the highest altitude!
I would love your feedback on this!
PS! The last sentence of the intro is the same title as a book by Peter Guber. Read it!
Great post, David! I’m glad to see that more and more people, besides you and I, are realizing the importance of storytelling. Personally, I’ve grown to enjoy it!
Keep up the good work!
[…] Let me tell you a story… […]
You’re right, David. And I believe you told a great and inspiring story to your new colleagues. A great thing about storytelling is that a good story is so easily and lively put into our thoughts, that we willfully go along and construct our own unique understanding, (perhaps unaware of) using our creativity to do so. I was fortunate to have a Grandfather who captivated me with exciting stories. I could sit still for hours just listening to him. (Actually, it is a little strange to imagine me doing so, in this hectic every day, not many years later.) I remember that he told me – with much pride and passion – about his second (since he was married to his first) love of life; the Norwegian Polarstjerna (The Polar Star). It’s ofcource different (and more difficult perhaps) with a short presentation though. However, I think storytelling can be learned more easily by those who experience other great storytellers; it’s not enough just to read a great story – it must be expressed.
I don’t know if you have been on a sales presentation course but this is exactly what you do – set the scene using one image and a 30 second intro, looks as though you did a good opening to Barco, best of luck and go the full journey, worth it.
thanks for your kind words! And you are right; I have received training on giving presentations and speeches. I’ve been working in sales, marketing and with training for a number of years and have done lots of presentations. And I have to admit that my deliverable got highly improved after learning a few tips and tricks. Even a sales and marketing dog needs some education. And now I try to pass the skills on…