We’ve all been there.  We are at a networking event and it’s time for the elevator speeches.  And one by one they drone one in a rhythmic fashion.  “I’m Bob with Bobs Inc.”  “I’m Mary with Mary’s Cleaning.”  “I’m Steve with Steve’s Warehouse.”  Each introduction more mundane than the last.  YAWN!

But then something unusual happens.  We find that we’re listening to someone more intently.  And before we know it, we’re hooked.  We forget about the time and our wonderful buffet lunch, and find ourselves deep inside another world.  In this new world we are experiencing new and exciting things.  What is the difference?  A story.

When delivering your elevator speech (Magical Networking Moment), using stories will capture the imagination and move the audience to take action much faster than the facts.  So present the facts in a success story.  A success story is any recount of an experience a customer has had with you, your product, your service, or your business.  Success stories are extremely powerful.

Most people are thinking about themselves most of the time.  This is the challenge every marketer has when conveying information about their products and services.  How do we break the preoccupation of the audience? People will naturally listen longer and more intently to a story than to a pitch.  What’s more, people are naturally curious and want to know how a story ends.

And when a story applies to them, people have the ability to project themselves into the story and really see the success happening for them too.  When they do, you have the rare opportunity to use their self-focus to your benefit. When people are able to think about themselves while using your product or service it translates into more business for you.

Be certain that your story is true as honesty is always the best policy and your integrity and credibility are keys to networking success.  And resist the temptation to embellish for effect.  Those who relate to the story won’t need a larger than life experience to be drawn in.  That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t bring life to the story.  Include sensory words like saw, felt, tasted, and heard to bring the story to life.

And for those who are new to the company, use a story from a seasoned veteran.  Again, confirm the truth of the story but once confirmed, share the success story with audiences until you have your own.  Tell a success story every chance you get.  You may use different stories or the same one over and over again.  Remember there are always new ears listening.

One bit of caution when using stories.  Just as the audience will be drawn in and will loose track of time, so will you if you haven’t practiced.  Don’t attempt to tell a story off the cuff.  Practice your story in front of a mirror until you have the right facial expressions and you have a handle on the time it takes to share.  Telling the story masterfully is a skill that must be developed and practiced.

Storytelling has been with us since our first words.  Cave dwellers and ancients from all parts of the globe used pictures to tell stories.  Today we continue to share our most powerful lessons through stories.  You can use stories to tell in a more interesting way the story of your product or service and more people will be interested.  Use the success story to win more business and build better relationships. Tell the story.