Last Friday night I had dinner with a girlfriend. The leaves swirled past the windows, while inside my friend’s home we warmed ourselves with good wine, good food and great conversation. I arrived at 5:30 p.m. and, all of a sudden, it was 10:40 p.m. The conversation was that good. What made it so? We talked about things we both cared about. There is the secret to a good story: make it about something the hearer cares deeply about and you will have their attention.
The temptation is to make the stories in our cases for support about the organization and the good work it does. When we do this we miss what a psychologist calls the ‘self-interest’ element. A marketer calls it the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor. We all come to the table with self interest. That is how we are wired as human beings. It’s true whether we are skimming a newspaper, learning that a storm is in the forecast or hearing a story about a remarkable charity. We tune out the things that don’t affect us and tune in to the things that do. Continue reading