Stories As Persuasion

Stories share our successes, failures, adventures, lessons, morals, and the values we hold dear. Stories have a unique way of stimulating in the listener the desire to think as well as to feel something about what you are saying and can create connection, build trust, while containing more than one lesson. Consider these four recommendations:

  • Stories convey lessons and provide examples that are easily understood and relatable.
  • Stories are easier to recall in tense moments than theories or concepts.
  • Stories are very useful as a tactic to disarm the other negotiator.
  • Use stories to shift the conversation to a more productive realm.

Sunday Minute Summary: Whether it is making a point in negotiation, helping you manage a difficult interaction, disarming your counterpart, or getting the other negotiator to shift from competition to cooperation, think about how to use stories at different junctures in the negotiation process and you will be amazed at how effective this tool can be.

Dr. Joshua N. Weiss is the co-founder of the Global Negotiation Initiative and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project. Published as email Sunday Minute Tip from Harvard Negotiation Project, 10.24.2021.

In our information-saturated age, business leaders won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories. Facts and figures and all the rational things that we think are important in the business world actually don’t stick in our minds at all. Stories create sticky memories by attaching emotions to things that happen. That means leaders who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others.
A Good Story Is Always Far More Persuasive Than Facts and Figures by James Sudakow

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