Lead with a Story

bookThe six most powerful words in any language are, “Let me tell you a story.” So begins, Paul Smith’s book Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince and Inspire (kindle version), this week’s Saturday book review. If you want to see some of the past books I’ve reviewed, go here.

One of the things that sets this book apart from other preaching books, besides the fact that it is written by a business writer, but that it is through the lens of leadership, of inspiring people. One of my goals when I preach is for people to leave inspired. The Holy Spirit does this work, but my style, next steps, how I say things can inspire people or push them away from seeing the possibilities in their lives.

That’s one reason I loved this book. It has so many great things in it for speakers. And if you are a pastor, you should be reading public speaking books by experts who are not pastors. Just to broaden your range and get some new tips.

Here are a few things that jumped out:

  • Experience is the best teacher. A compelling story is a close second.
  • Every great leader is a great storyteller.
  • Facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they are part of a story.
  • An organization’s culture is defined by the behavior of its members and reinforced by the stories they tell.
  • If you design your product or service for everyone, what you end up doing is designing for no one.
  • Describing your idea in specific, concrete terms is almost always more effective.
  • The best way to get the attention of a business audience is to quickly introduce a main character they can relate to, and put the character in a challenging situation or predicament.
  • Emotion is so important to a story, some storytelling experts consider it a defining element, without which you don’t even have a story.
  • If you don’t generate an emotional reaction in your audience, you haven’t told a story.
  • If your audience doesn’t naturally care about your idea, find out what it does care about and associate your message with that.