I took my first Uber ride in 2016. I wasn't avoiding the company for any particular reason. However, I just thought I'd try something new.
After the ride, I decided one thing: I'm not going back to regular taxi cab rides ever again.
Why? Is it because the Uber ride was so much better? Was the driver the nicest person I'd ever driven with? Did they give me superior service?
None of the above. Sure, the app is cool – you can look at exactly where your driver is and follow them online as they get closer to you. And yes, the driver was friendly. The service was pretty good too. However, the reason I'll go with Uber is simple – the ride was cheaper.
Nothing mind-boggling. The ride was cheaper, the app is cool, I'm going with Uber over taxi. Along with thousands of others. Why?
Because we have no emotional connection with taxi drivers. The car comes, we get to our destination, we pay the fee. Nothing pulls us in to ride with the taxi company again. They're all the same. When you don't feel connected to any one thing over the other, your choice will come down to other factors. In this case, Uber won simply due to price.
Remember that lesson for speaking as well: Emotional connection is everything.
You must touch your audience before you make them think.
Many speakers try to push content, when they should be focusing on pulling out emotion instead. Without an emotional connection, you become a commodity that can be exchanged for anyone else that speaks about your particular topic.
However, when you create that connection, you become special and irreplaceable. And no matter whether you are speaking in a contest, for a keynote, or to your staff in a board meeting, the one way to make that connection – is through using strategic stories in your speeches.
Case in point - The Taxi Story
I may not ever take a taxi again, but I do remember one ride that I had. As I sat in the car, I saw a large textbook on the seat beside the driver. I asked him what it was. For our entire drive, we talked. About his medical degree from India. About the fact that the degree was not recognized in Canada which forced him to find whatever employment he could obtain. About his family, his dreams, his goals. Over that ride, we connected through his personal story.
Now if HE had given me a card and said “Call me when you need another cab.”, I would have stayed with that taxi company and abandoned Uber. EVEN IF THE PRICE WAS HIGHER.
That's the power of personal stories.
Personal stories cut through the rational thinking brain, and reach the emotions of the heart. When your stories match up to the strategy that you are sharing, and the mission or lessons that you want to impart, the result is an almost magical connection. More importantly, they compel your audience to act. Actions always follow feelings, so make them feel, and you'll induce them into action.
I'll leave you with one final line:
Personal Stories solve Pervasive Problems.
Kwesi Millington helps speakers, presenters and youth to connect with their audiences and master their messages using the power of storytelling in their speeches & presentations. He is a Certified Public Speaking Coach & Youth Mentor.