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6 types of stories to help you move hearts and minds.

6 types of stories to help you move hearts and minds.

Mike Doane

Annette Simmons, author of The Story Factor, says these six stories will help you move hearts and minds.

If you're looking to gain trust and influence people through the power of storytelling, this is a great place to start.

Storytelling isn't just for entertainment. There is real brain science behind how story can help us move hearts and minds.

The trick is, finding the right story for every occasion.

In her 2019 book, The Story Factor, Annette Simmons says there are six stories everyone should learn how to tell. These stories will help you gain trust and influence anyone of anything.

1. "Who I am"

"Someone has to go first. If you want an audience to take a risk on you, it’s a good idea to go first and take a risk on them."

Annette Simmons
The Story Factor

Simmons says that we can't just expect people to trust us. We have to let them know who we are before they're willing to let their guard down.

A good way to do this is to share a personal story that shows we, just like everyone else, are flawed and relatable.

2. "Why I'm here"

"There is no need to hide self-serving objectives. People really don’t mind them, as long as they aren’t exploitative."

Annette Simmons
The Story Factor

Hiding your own motives is a good way to go nowhere fast. Instead, tell a story that illustrates what's in it for you, then tell your audience why it's beneficial to them too.

3. "The vision"

"A CEO’s vision to “become a $2 billion company in five years” might get him up in the morning, but it doesn’t mean squat to his regional manager, salespeople, or the administration assistant down the hall."

Annette Simmons
The Story Factor

If your story doesn't address relatable struggles and frustrations you might as well throw it out. Consider why your audience cares about your topic and speak directly to that.

4. "Teaching"

"Teaching stories helps us make sense of new skills in meaningful ways. You never teach a skill that doesn’t have a reason 'why.'"

Annette Simmons
The Story Factor

If you want someone to learn a new way of doing something, get open to a new idea, or just absorb information that's new, better tell a story. When you frame a new piece of information as part of a larger contextual narrative, it's easier for listeners to absorb.

5. "Values in action"

"Experience is the best teacher, but story is second best.""

Annette Simmons
The Story Factor

When Martin Luther King set out to change society, he didn't just stand at a podium and preach. He went out on the streets and showed people how they could resist the status quo without resorting to anger and violence.

Those actions became a story themselves that made the act of non-violent resistance something people could grasp. When people understand the story of how and why something works, they're more likely to follow suit.

6. "I know what you're thinking"

If you have done your homework on the group or person you wish to influence, it is relatively easy to identify their potential objections to your message. If you name their objections first, you are that much closer to disarming them.

Annette Simmons
The Story Factor

I know that you know that I know is a good way to start a story, especially when people are resitant to your message. If you name and address those problems upfront, and if you do it through story, you're more likely to end on a productive note.

Use your power wisely

Simmons leaves us with a word of warning:

Trust is very important. But a hammer is a hammer; you can use it to build up or tear down.

Annette SimmonsThe Story Factory

Storytelling, like marketing, can be used for good or evil. The long-term affects of lying and manipulation though are often not worth it. Better to tell stories that bring people together toward common goals.

— Mike Doane