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What I want to hear is your story

Have you been in a high pressure social situation? Of course you have. We find ourselves in one more often than we think. Dates (especially first dates), job interviews, sales calls, networking events, and so on. Whenever you meet someone and are looking for something from them, you are in a high pressure social situation. Whether you are looking to be liked on a date, or hired for a job, or to make a connection with an influential person, or to raise money for your startup, or to sell your product, you are faced with another human being across the table who can either disappoint you or give you what you want at the end of the meeting.

Why are we nervous in such situations? Because the outcome is not entirely in our hands. So we resort to saying things that we think will tick the right boxes. We talk about where we studied and where we work. We talk about our hobbies and the places we have traveled to. We talk about the number of customers we have or the revenues we are making. We talk about the features our product has and the types of customers it serves. We talk about the market potential. Basically, we talk facts.

Facts are the least retained information in our heads. We need to be told repeatedly before we remember facts. That's the reason we resort to memory tricks when we have to remember sequences or dates or names.

Whereas, the most easily retained information is in the form of stories.

When in a high pressure social situation, tell a story. Tell your story. Early investors don't care much about your financial projections and the market potential. They know that things will change drastically along the way. But they readily invest in founders that tell a compelling story. Because, they know that a good story teller is far more likely to raise further rounds of funding than one who isn't. At the same time, a good story teller is one who can attract the best talent. And a good story teller is one who can find paying customers.

The same way, when on a date or at a networking event, try talking facts and your call afterwards will likely go to voicemail. Facts are not entertaining. Facts are not something one can relate to. Instead, a story is. A story where you're the protagonist is the easiest way to make a connection. Either the other person gets your story or she doesn't. And when they can relate to your story, when they have a story of their own that is similar, then a connection is made.

Next time you're nervous, try telling a story. Your story. And things might turn out different.

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