This one’s for you dad. I loved our car rides.
I spent a good deal of my childhood driving in my car with my father. He was there for almost every sporting event I took part in, and because I played a ton of sports, we were in the car a lot. I also went to high school nearly an hour away, so we weren’t strangers to the road.
Back then we only had a tape player, so we listened to the tape collection he had (which was limited to say the least). We played the Beatles’ Rubber Soul album a lot, and while it sounded great, I had no idea what they were talking about. However, one artist I did listen to, understood, and remembered was Harry Chapin.
I loved Chapin’s music because he was a legendary storyteller. Each song had it’s own life and heart, with characters, plots, conflict and resolution (though not always a happy one). My dad and I would talk about these songs and what they meant. Of course, Cats in the Cradle always resonates with me because of the story it tells and my relationship with my father. Less about the father/son not having time for each other, and more about the son turning out to be just like his father (and what an honor that would be). More after the video.
The presentations we most remember are often the ones that tell us a story. Instead of selling us, rattling off a bunch of bullet points, or self-congratulating the presenter, they bring us through a gripping narrative. Stories of perseverance, sacrifice, overcoming the odds, making tough decisions, ingenuity, and triumph (though the list of possibilities goes on and on).
Stories matter. Ensuring your presentation as a whole tells a collective story can motivate your audience towards your goal. Telling personal stories within your presentation, like Benjamin Zander and J.J. Abrams do so beautifully, lets your audience into your world and makes a human connection between you both.
As my good friend Michael Margolis of Get Storied University always says, “If your audience can see themselves in your story, the need to persuade disappears.” Wouldn’t it be great as a brand to not have to persuade your audience to purchase?
I don’t hear Chapin’s music on the radio much anymore, if at all (aside from Cats in the Cradle). Though I recently did while driving with my wife. Seemingly out of nowhere I started belting out Taxi word-for-word. She had no idea what song it was, who was singing it, and why I knew every word. When stories resonate with you, they can stay with you forever.
Want your message to stay with your audience long after the presentation ends? Tell stories.