Conversations with Impact – the importance of stories

I feel quite lucky to be working where I work. One of the things I like about working at a university is having access to a number of learning opportunities, be it credit or not-for-credit courses, or even 1 or 2 hour sessions on anything. I love learning so it’s a field day for me when I get to attend these courses or events.

Conversations with Impact

by Gareth Williams. Cuba - Havana Public Artwork.
by Gareth Williams. Cuba – Havana Public Artwork.

One session I recently attended was “Conversations With Impact”. Ms. Joanna Piros,a senior consultant with Counterpoint Communications and also faculty at UBC Sauder School of Business’s Executive Education program, was the one who delivered the one hour session.

At the beginning of the session, Ms. Piros emphasized three (3) key statements about conversations:
1. All communication is strategic
2. You must frame others before you frame yourself (I didn’t know what media framing meant before I attended this session)
3. You must tell stories

This definitely struck a chord with me because one of the courses I teach, Visual Analytics with Tableau, also revolves around telling stories with data.

To be persuasive in a conversation, you need to ask yourself:
– What do you want to get out of the situation?
– What can you do for the other party?

You have to know your outcome before you decide on a message and a tactic.

Going back to stories, why are stories important?
Because stories make events that are not relatable, relatable. Stories don’t have to be related too. You can take stories from different places.
Because stories prime people emotionally.You have to set the emotional table before you put food to the table.

Give them 10 facts, they’ll forget most of it
Give them 10 stories, they’ll remember most of it

Here is one that she showed that illustrates that stories don’t have to be related, they just need to be relatable. And most of the time, make you feel good or connected.

Ms. Piros also compared how much access we have now to data and information.

THEN: “Information is Power”
NOW: “Information is Noise”

Today, power belongs to those who can interpret and sift through the noise. Power also belongs to those who know how to listen.

It is also important to know what questions you can, and show ask. Here are a couple of Power Questions:
– “Can we start over?”
– “What do you think?”

I really enjoyed the session. I think I know which Sauder Executive Education course I am taking next: the one that Ms. Piros is teaching – Persuasion: How To Change Ideas, Attitudes And Actions.

Book recommendations from this session:
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Thinking, Fast and Slow Paperback by Daniel Kahneman
The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know by Kay and Shipman
Secret Language of Leadership by Stephen Denning
Power Questions by Sobel and Panas

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