I conducted a session on storytelling for one of Sony’s sales teams earlier in the week.
An old poll jointly conducted by The New York Times and CBS served as a good trigger for discussion.
The first chart points out that the average person feels “on guard” with others.
It gets worse as you can see by the following.
No big surprise here.
I suspect our cynicism toward humankind has actually worsened since 1999.
But check out the third data point.
The vast majority of people not only lower their guard, but believe a person will “try to be fair” once they know the person.
Before going further, I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due. Annette Simmons connects these dots much more eloquently at the International Storytelling Center.
Back to the NYT/CBS data.
Simply stated, the trust a person puts in you skyrockets by knowing you.
Even a closet introvert like me can’t ignore the implication.
And there’s no better way to help someone get to know you than by sharing a story.
If I say to you “I’m a great dad and love my kids,” what’s your reaction?
You probably figure I never spend time with my kids and feel guilty about it.
But if I tell you a story about tag-teaming with my three kids once a week to prepare the family dinner, and how we challenged ourselves last week with Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe which turned into an unmitigated disaster, now you’re starting to get a feel for my values plus more.
That’s the power of storytelling.