The most effective story that you can tell to inspire, persuade or inform ISN’T the one you tell to someone in your audience, it’s the one the person tells himself.
Consider this story that I heard from the wonderful, but late, Anthony De Mello:
A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He tried every method he knew to get rid of them. Still they plagued him. Finally he wrote to the Department of Agriculture. He enumerated all the things he had tried and closed his letter with the question, “What shall I do now?”
In the course of time, the reply came:
“We suggest you learn to love them.”
This is not a sermon. It’s not a story with a clear message that the audience must “get”. It’s an invitation to an internal drama, an invitation to get the brain thinking and processing.
Will the brain’s understanding be what you want it to be? Perhaps. But you’ll have more of a chance of getting the brain – and more importantly, the person and their emotions – to engage in your idea if you don’t ram your interpretation down their throat.
Sometimes business storytellers make the big mistake of not giving people the space and time to fill in the blanks – on their own.