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Chantal’s Influence Tips 68: How to make your Ideas Stick! Part Seven – A banana will never be the same

Last time we explored the role of emotion if you want people to truly engage, listen and remember your ideas. This time it’s the 6th and final sticky strategy.

I learnt something amazing this week.  A friend was telling me about her 12 year old nephew. He was eating lunch and he reached over to grab a banana. As my friend watched him, she noticed how easily he peeled it. Most people I know, try to peel bananas from the stem (the part that’s attached to the bunch). That can be a bit of a struggle sometimes (as you’ll know if you eat bananas).
This 12 year old peeled it from the opposite opposite end. He simply pinched the tip of the banana and hey presto, the skin separated easily. My friend was so intrigued, she asked her nephew “Where did you learn to peel it like that?” He looked up and said “From a chimp!”. 
If you are partial to eating bananas and you’ve been struggling to peel them easily (yes this really is an issue for some people), this tip could potentially rock your world! 
But more importantly, if you want to learn to do something better or easier, it can be useful to find the right examples that you can learn from. When it comes to bananas, most people learn to peel them from watching other human beings. But let’s face it, who better to learn from than a chimp?!
The 6th and final strategy from Chip & Dan Heath on how to make your message stick is STORIES.
Stories have been our primary way of communicating and learning for thousands of years. Wisdom is passed down through the ages via stories. Stories have a structure and a narrative flow that makes them easy to remember and share.
Comedians often tell great stories and so do movie makers. People love the magic of stories and neuro-science tells us that humans are wired to enjoy hearing stories.
Some key benefits of using story to sell/share your ideas:
1) You can embed a key message inside a story. The message is more easily remembered because it gets associated to a memorable story. And association is how we learn and remember things.
2) Just stating facts alone will often induce critical thinking (including resistance/barriers) - whereas stories bypass those critical filters and allow your message to enter the back door of people’s minds, that may otherwise get blocked.
3) Stories induce a state of trance and relaxation. People are more receptive to your ideas in that state of mind.
4) Stories bring ideas to life by engaging all the senses. They make your ideas concrete.


5) When people hear stories, they imagine themselves in that scenario. Stories are like a simulator - they give the audience a ‘felt’ experience and arouse emotion.
6) Stories are associated with entertainment, so we’re more open to listening to a story rather than a list of facts or opinions.
7) Stories have structurea start, middle and end.  And humans crave completion, so they have a subconscious desire to hear the conclusion!
How to use stories:
You can use other people’s stories (like I did above) or your own stories. You have more stories from your own experience than you will ever have time to tell!
You can also use famous stories and anecdotes or evidence based stories.
But whatever story you choose, it should be authentic and be guided by purpose.
When you think about using stories, ask yourself:

What key message do I want to communicate? 
How do I want people to feel when they hear it?
What kind of story would be most appropriate?
Here are some useful resources for stories;
Your life experiences!
Identify the idea/core message and look for examples from your own life (or someone else’s). Note down some of your favourite anecdotes.

Create your own library; collect stories
I have some favourite stories that have multiple meanings and are therefore relevant for different key messages or ideas.

And if you want to see a fantastic example of inspiring use of stories, click here

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Chantal Burns ScreenshotChantal Burns

Executive Coach, Speaker and Bestselling Author of

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