The Art of Change Skills for Life

Ideas. Insight. Inspiration.

Essential Communication Skills Positive Persuasion: Transitional Openers (Part 6)

July 7, 2008 Persuasion Podcasts 0

Perfecting your communication skills prior to presenting a persuasion proposition—delivering a successful transition—has been my recent theme.Here are the previous posts in the series:

Types of Transitions:

1) Asking for permission here

2) ‘Claim the bridge’ and ‘One Step at a time’,here

3) Thought provoking statements here.

4) Ask for a ‘yes” here

The theme of my recent posts has been exploring how transitions help you prepare your persuadee to be open to your positive persuasion proposition.Today’s topic is another transitional opener: a short story

“Let me tell you a story about someone just like you who overcame numerous obstacles and changed the world.”

Stories involve people just like you and me having experiences from which we can learn their lessons.

The power of narrative is such that story telling is one of humanity’s best tricks for passing along wisdom, teaching important principles, and imparting essential knowledge. Stories give us a safe place to identify, to get caught up, and to safely reflect on our situation and ourselves. Stories work when they are about people, because it is natural for people to care about people.

But that reminds me of a story.

“Life is like a bowl of chicken soup.” So said the famous teacher as he lay dying in his bed. His students came from miles around, and they patiently formed a line, from the brightest of them at the front, to the dullest of them at the back, hoping to hear his final words before he was gone forever. The line stretched out of the teacher’s house, around the block and down the street for a mile.

Each time the teacher spoke, the students passed his words back through the line in response to the student behind the student asking, what did he say? And so, the new teaching, life is like a bowl of chicken soup, made its way to the end of the line, with each student nodding their head on hearing the words as if they completely understood.

But when the words made their way to the last student in line, that students scratched his head, perplexed, mystified even, by this new teaching. Finally, he had to ask the student in front of him to explain.Life is like a bowl of chicken soup? But the student in front of him couldn’t tell him what it meant, so he in turn passed the question forward.

Eventually, the question made its way from the end of the line to the front of the line, where the brightest student leaned down and quietly asked the teacher the question. “Oh great teacher, help us to understand your teaching. How is life like a bowl of chicken soup?”

The teacher contemplated the question for a very long time. Then, with great effort, he signaled to come closer and hear the response given with his last breath. “Okay,” he shrugged, “life is NOT like a bowl of chicken soup!” And then he died.

And the story ends there. Did that leave you hanging? That space, that vacuum of wonder, that moment in which your persuadee is dangling dangerously on the edge…that is exactly what you’re after with a story. What a great spot to begin your persuasion proposition!!

Master the Art Of Change.

Be well,

Dr. Rick

Related posts:

1. Use 7 Signals of Persuasion To Give Big Tobacco the Boot

2. What Will It Take for Me to Persuade You? Podcast

 

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