Picture the moment your writing lands in front of your reader.
Usually, you’re competing with every distraction under the sun: emails, phone calls, the 40 other tabs in Chrome.
How do you cut through?
Simple – take your message and tie it to a story.
I collect stories that I can use to explain things. Here’s 3 of my favourites – you’re welcome to use them too.
Story 1: Lobster
Two hundred years ago, eating lobster was like eating a rat.
Eating lobster was considered such a ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment that several US states had laws against feeding it to prisoners.
Today lobster is a gourmet dish – one of the most expensive items on the menu.
A similar transformation is happening in our industry…
- How to use this story: This story is great for highlighting a turn-around in fortunes. For example, a division that has performed poorly, but has managed to transform itself.
Story 2: Ferrari
In 1948, a peasant farmer started a business making tractors.
Within five years this man – Ferruccio – was one of the richest men in Italy. He amassed a fine collection of cars – Alfa Romeos, Maseratis, Lancias – but his heart belonged to his Ferraris, of which he owned six.
Just one thing bothered him: all of his Ferraris had clutch problems. One day in his workshop he discovered why: the clutch in his Ferraris was the same part he used in his tractors.
Ferruccio complained to Enzo Ferrari, who replied: “Ferruccio, you may be able to drive a tractor but you will never be able to handle a Ferrari properly.”
Ferruccio was furious. He vowed to make a car worthy of beating a Ferrari. And as it happens, that’s exactly what he did. He took his revenge by creating one of the most powerful, well renowned cars in the world.
The farmer’s full name: Ferruccio Lamborghini.
- How to use this story: This story works well any time you’re working on a goal that some people doubt can be achieved. It’s good for encouraging your audience to dig deep and prove the doubters wrong!
Story 3: New York
New York should have collapsed in 1980.
Over 130 years ago, the New York authorities held a conference to figure out how to manage the city’s growth.
The experts agreed: it didn’t look good.
The city was doubling in size every 10 years. By 1980 they predicted, you’d need six million horses to transport everybody. And those six million horse would produce so much crap that New York City was effectively doomed.
Obviously, things turned out differently. I love this story because it shows how people who make predictions for a living are hamstrung by the fact that they don’t know what they don’t know.
- How to use this story: This story is a useful one when your success looks uncertain,or when you don’t know what the future holds. It’s a good story for encouraging followers to make a leap of faith.
Would you like me to send you more stories like this?
Our book Hooked On You contains 12 stories that you can make your own.