Emotional stories do not have to be boohoo stories. They can be funny stories. Funny is a very powerful emotion. Most importantly, funny equals money. In other words, if you can get your audience to laugh and to relax, then they let their guard is down and they’re more open to hear your close or your offer. When thinking about a funny story, I always recommend you first think about something that’s happened in your life. Practically every day funny stuff happens to us.
For example, my husband is a bum magnet. He can be in a parking lot at a grocery store and there will be some homeless guy that sees him from across the parking lot and zeros in on him and asks for money. My husband, being the generous man that he is, always gives them money. One day, we are walking into the grocery store and there was a homeless man sitting right near the doorway. The homeless man looked up at my husband and he asked him, ”What is the greatest nation in the world?” My husband answered, “Well, it’s the United States, of course.” And the homeless man looked up and said, “No, it’s donation.” We thought that was so funny and laughed out loud, and my husband gave him $20.
Funny things like that happen to all of us. We just must pay attention and remember them.
What if You Do not Have Any Funny Stories of Your Own?
If you cannot find any funny stories that have happened to you, then simply go on the Internet, and find jokes. Jokes can serve as funny stories. Here is one, there was this little girl, and she was in art class and she was feverishly drawing. The teacher comes up behind her and asks, “Mary, what are you drawing?” Mary replied, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” And the teacher said, “but Mary, nobody knows what God looks like.” Mary, without looking up, said, “Well, they will in a minute.”
When to Tell Emotional Stories
Bring emotional stories in right before you close, especially if it is funny. Make sure that you have got some sort of humor throughout your presentation but save the best for last and share it right before you do the invitation or the call to action.
What Type of Stories to Tell?
I recommend that it is a story that fits the audience. If you are talking to a group of real estate professionals, the story may be different than the story you tell an audience of financial planners. Some stories, like my bum magnet story can fit most audiences because everyone can relate to being asked for money. Nonetheless, you must look at your story and what kind of impact you are trying to make with that story.
How to Insert a Funny Story into Your Talk
For emotional stories you almost do not need a segue to start them. Oftentimes, what I will say is something like, “for instance” or “for example.”
I’ll go into the funny story by saying, “For instance, my husband is a bum magnet…”
Moreover, what you do not want to do is say, “I want to tell you a story” because that loses some of the oomph of the story itself. I would never say, “So I want to tell you a story about my husband meeting a bum.” Instead, I say, “I want to give you an example. My husband’s a bum magnet.”
How to Transition from the Story to the Close
It is easy to segue into the close. If you have got them and they are laughing, then you need a transition statement based on whatever your story is. So, if I was going to say something about the bum magnet story before my close, then I would say something like, “Speaking of money, how would you like to make more money? Great, because I have a very special program I want to share with you that will make you a ton of money and you don’t have to beg for it. “
Importance of Emotional Stories
Telling emotional stories is right up there with telling a success story and your professional story. All stories are equally as important. Even the story with a lesson is important because the story with a lesson makes people think deep and they say to themselves, “She’s talking to me. I get it.” All four stories are equally important. However, you cannot fit all the stories in a short five or ten-minute talk.
When you only have a few minutes to speak, the story that you always tell is your professional story. Then it would be the success story, because that is the one that shows people the success of somebody who worked with you. Your success story walks the audience through how the client struggled and now they’re a big success. If I had to number them in order of importance, I would say the success story is number two priority after your professional story. Number three would be either an emotional story or story with a lesson.
How and When to Tell Sad Emotional Stories
You might want to tell a sad story. However, you would never share a sad story right before you sell or close. Sad stories work for a different kind of audience. For example, someone talks about bullying and they share that they were bullied in school and how it emotionally affected them. They might also share how they isolated themselves from school and were home schooled because of that. Perhaps they did not have any friends. That kind of emotional story is used to set up and drive a teaching point home. You would place this kind of emotional story in the middle of the content.
However, you never want to leave an audience with a sad emotional story. You have got to get them happy again after that. You might say a sad story and then the next one must be a triumph or a winning story or celebration story. As a speaker you have a moral responsibility to not leave somebody down in the dumps. Be careful when planning to use emotional stories. Make sure it is the right story for the right audience and for your content.
The Bottom Line: Funny Equals Money
Master your emotional storytelling and your audiences will enjoy taking the next step to hire you or buy from you.
Watch this quick video for an overview of leveraging emotional stories in your talks: