Get Audience Attention Through Storytelling
WARNING: You will learn nothing about marketing from this post. However, I’m always telling you that sharing a story gets audience attention and offers higher impact when trying to relate and build rapport with others. People would rather be entertained – not educated (as far as they know) – so tell your story in a way that captures the audience's attention.
So, I thought I'd take a moment to share one of my stories with you. Hope you enjoy!
There’s an old saying, ‘When you assume … you make an arse out of you and me.’
The other option is just making an arse on your own.
My family of five was at Disneyland with Enoch’s family of eight (yes, eight) and my brother, with his family of four. At that time, I had been in business with Enoch at Architect Marketing Institute for a year but had never met him in person. That’s how the internet changes business these days; we are more connected but less connected. That, however, is irrelevant.
Okay, so let’s continue. Disneyland …
My son Max and I are on Main Street buying some fudge. I need to head to the bathroom and so does Max.
Excellent, it will be interesting to see what the Disney bathrooms are like (once again, this is irrelevant).
One of the things Disney does deliberately is keep this huge park spotless. There is no rubbish anywhere.
Disney is really smart. They know that when people go home and talk to their friends, one of the talked about features is how CLEAN the park is.
So me and my boy Max (then 13 years old) head into the bathrooms. Everything looks good, clean and spacious. So far, so good.
Upon a quick inspection I see two cubicles, so I head into the bigger one.
Bathroom Faux Pas
It seems like we are the only ones in there, so I brag to Max from my spacious cubicle that I am flying first class while he is flying economy.
Max doesn’t respond.
Then, I look down to see Max’s legs under the cubicle wall and come up with a brilliant idea. If I grab his leg under the wall, I can give him a fright.
Brilliant! The old squeeze-the-leg-under-the-cubicle-wall trick.
So I crouch into position like a tiger, ready to strike.
Slowly, my arm reaches under the wall when I realize that I have to act fast before he sees me.
I reach under and grab his trousers and squeeze just above the ankle. Really tight.
Then a thought hits me!
Hang on … Max wasn’t wearing trousers!
So whose leg am I holding?
Oh, no. I had assumed Max was in the cubicle beside me. Turns out there were three cubicles and we were not alone.
What do you say when you are caught accidentally feeling up the wrong leg in the Disneyland toilets?
Think I am making this story up? Afraid not.
‘Can I help you?’ says the polite voice on the other side of the wall. I realize I’m still holding this person’s leg in a vise-like grip and I slowly withdraw my arm from under the wall.
What type of reaction is that? Typical American manners.
‘Ahh, sorry about that. I thought it was my son’s leg.’
There is no response from the trousers.
I can hear gleeful sniggering in cubicle #3. I need to get out of the toilet now before cubicle #2 sees me and reports me to Security.
After washing up smartly, I race for the door so I can assume anonymity back in the bustle of Disney’s Main Street.
The lesson From Disney?
There are actually three toilet cubicles and don’t assume you are alone.
Admittedly, the Disney lesson has nothing to do with selling high-priced services. However, I hope it does help you to recognize that even a silly situation can later become a story that you can share to build rapport.
Do you have a great story that you are willing to share with us? Or a situation that led to easy rapport-building and grabbed your audience's attention? Leave a comment and let us know – we would love to hear from you.
If you enjoyed our article about getting your audience's attention, check out this post that focuses on building rapport through networking.
We also have a great post on supply & demand and building dominance in the architecture field that offers great insights on how to become the #1 expert in your area of expertise.