Story Telling Is Magical Because We’re All Telling Ourselves One All The Time…

Let me tell you what happened with MJ. MJ, has a creative little mind, like all little boys do. He’s almost five. He loves monster trucks and cars. He’s always thinking about and telling you different stories that he has in his head. When he’s leaving the house, he says he wants to go see the monster trucks.

As a parent it’s easy to get annoyed. You’re going somewhere and you may not be in the playing mood that a 4 year old is, so you can get a little testy.

All you’re thinking is…

“Let’s get ready. Let’s go.”

You want to say…

“Look dude. There’s no monster trucks. We’re going to gymnastics.”


It doesn’t work. He gets upset. He starts crying. He gets defeated.

Now I’m not saying, not to do that. I’m not saying, not to be a parent. What I found that works best, is…

Enter into the story in his head!

He doesn’t know where monster trucks are. He’s just having fun. It’s some game he’s playing in his head. He just knows that…

I see monster trucks on TV and on YouTube. I play with monster trucks. I want to go see some monster trucks.” Every time somebody approaches him head on, he gets mad.

Instead, I entered into the story in his head.

I ask him Socratic questions…

“MJ, where do you think we should find some monster trucks?

MJ, could you play with the monster trucks in your head and create the exact story that you really want to go see?

And then, maybe one day we could find it, if you can imagine it enough.”

His eyes de-focus and he started forming new connections and ideas. He started thinking about the story in his head and stopped crying. All I did is enter into the story in his head.

Ask yourself what story is the person you’re communicating with telling themselves?

The other day a prospect comes in and he said he was invested in 100% stocks. The partner that I was with started going through indexing strategies and indexed annuities to make his portfolio more secure, etc.

It wasn’t working, because we were meeting him head on. He doesn’t want to do that. He thinks his stocks are going okay.

What I always remind myself to do is take the conversation back to the person’s problems and goals. That is what is most important to them. Not some feature and benefit.

He was 71 years old. What do 71 year olds want to do? They want to spend more time having fun and typically want to decrease their risk.

The story in his head is a…

Retirement picture and taking chips off the table.

I asked…

“What is the goal of the money you have invested?”

“What do you and your wife want to do?”

“In 2008, how’d your portfolio do when the market was down 50, 60%?

How’d you feel about that?

How’d you feel about 2000?

God forbid we had something like 1929, where the market’s down 80%, how would you feel about that?”

Then he said…

“Actually, I was done $190,000 last October. It took me six or nine months to get back to even.”

I said…

“Yeah, you know what? What if we could hedge that? What if we can make sure that God forbid the markets go down, that you profit on that as well, and what if we can give you some more of the upside?”

This conversation wasn’t about any product or solution. It was about entering the conversation and story in someone’s head.

There’s a heuristic model that I teach for this and it’s adapted from Neuro Linguistic Programming. It’s about controlling the conversation around the Problems & Goals of the person your communicating with, but being flexible enough to dive down into the details without losing the client.

For him I had to get back to his problems and goals. 71 year old guy, has some goals. Sure, he doesn’t want to lose money at 71. His problem is, he’s leveraged in very few biotech and technology stocks. Very much like 2000 and 2001. I had to enter in the conversation in his head. To enter in the conversation in people’s head, instead of hitting them head on, you have to tell a story. You have to come up with story to get them to their problems and goals, because if you go right at them you will create an adversarial relationship or a combative conversation.

Just like MJ. What are his problems and his goals?

His goals are, he wants to see a monster truck. His problem is, he’s not going to get a monster truck right now and doesn’t want to do what we are asking him to to. That’s what is in his head. By telling him no, you’re not helping that out at all.

You have to get into the story in people’s heads, and then take them back to their problems and goals. Wrap your stories around and an event that leads the conversation to their problems and goals.

The bottom line it’s much easier to communicate with business partners, clients, prospects, spouses and kids if you enter into their story, tell a story around their problems and their goals of what they’re trying to accomplish.

You will find it easier to lead them where you want to go! But you first have to know the story in their head. That story is always attached to their problems and goals.

Dominate The Day,

Matt Linklater




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