April 15

The Most Important Skill in the World

Chances are good you’re taking in about 100,000 words a day digitally. Whether you’re reading them or hearing them spoken in podcasts or videos, there’s a lot of information coming at you.

And chances are also good that you’re ignoring the vast majority of those 100,000 words.

They don’t stick, not because they aren’t important, but because they aren’t presented in a way that gives you any reason to hold onto them.

We only respond to information, only act on it, when something about it is going to help us live better lives. So if we aren’t hearing that benefit really clearly in the midst of all the noise, we tune out.

But we stop tuning out when someone tells us a story we can relate to.

The same structure that we use to craft stories also serves as the primary framework for human thought. All of it.

Stories are the tool we use to make sense of the world around us. They’re how we’ve evolved to take in new information, chew it up, and use it in a way that helps us.

They’re how we pass down values from one generation to the next, how we communicate what’s important to us, and how we impart lessons and wisdom.

Your ability to use story effectively will determine how well you’re able to communicate your message. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

That’s why storytelling is the most valuable thing you could learn to stand out in a crowded field.

When you tell good stories, your audience is entertained. They are captivated. They stop daydreaming and pay attention. They learn and understand and are able to draw connections and comparison between the story they’re hearing and the story they’re living.

They aren’t just processing information; they’re processing emotion.

And that emotional response they experience at the hands of your storytelling builds a connection with you.

There is resonance and consequence and a deep sense in your audience that “this person understands me and is like me.” And if you can build a connection like that with your audience, you become indispensable to them.

You’re not just offering a solution to their problem, you’re showing them your unique experiences and insights and perspectives to reflect their own lives back onto them and show them a path forward.

In any business, no matter what products or services you’re selling, the real transaction that takes place revolves around transformation. You’re taking them from a “before” state that they don’t like to an “after” that suits them better.

And any time a transformation happens, a story takes place:

A hero (your customer) has a problem that they can’t solve alone. They’re called to resolve the problem, but they don’t know how. So they refuse the call. Until they meet a guide that can show them a path forward.

They take action, bring on allies and encounter tests and enemies along the way, until the story reaches a critical point where they’ve got to summon all the skills they’ve developed and knowledge they’ve acquired to overcome the obstacle and get the reward they’ve been seeking.

They return to their lives better than they were before, with new knowledge and new perspective, having conquered not only the actual problem they were facing but also the internal turmoil they experienced because of it.

And that happens whether you’re slaying a dragon or buying a Hyundai.

People aren’t just buying from you. They’re going with you on a journey and buying into what their life could be.

Your storytelling is what gets your message into the minds of the right people. It’s what builds a brand that people are loyal to, not just because it’s a little faster or a little cheaper or because its features are better than the features that the next guy’s got.

That’s not what stories are about.

Your customers are loyal because through the power of the stories you tell them and the stories you guide them through, you empower them. And you do it in a way that only you can for them.

Your empathy creates alignment.

Your alignment with your customer creates action.

The action you take with your customer creates transformation.

And your customers love you for it.


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