Reynolds High School Lunch and Learn

Sept. 17, 2010: Lew told stories on the outdoor stage during lunch periods at R. J. Reynolds High School, a magnet school for arts education in Winston-Salem NC.

But his stories were pointed:

If you look around, you’ll notice that most successful people in any occupation are good storytellers. They can capture the essence of an experience and make you feel you were there, too. But this skill involves more than entertainment and creating good will. It’s about inclusion, making others feel welcome and valued, and presents the story in a very human perspective, making it unforgettable.

A couple examples from business:

When introducing your business to a prospective client or making a presentation to a group of businesspeople, tell the story of the founder or a couple major contributors to the firm’s success. Make them human, give them personalities, tell what they were willing to give up to get what they wanted (i.e., the price of success).

Conversely, when telling a tragedy—for example, the 2008 financial disaster best known for the fall of Lehman Brothers Investments—research the characters, their roles, their motives; research the government’s involvement, the politics, the players and their “marching orders;” research those who had the most to lose or gain. Make the story not about packaging bad mortgage loans as investment instruments (dry = boring), but about who and why (intrigue) and the intended and unintended consequences (a complex equation in human chemistry, often causing an explosion).

If your story is unforgettable, so are you.

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