Our old pal Jimmy would love the words ahead.
We have no doubt he’d add a thing or two to the discussion.
We’ve written about Jimmy before. He’s our old neighbor. He had a big house, lots of toys, nice cars… and he paid for it all with cash from a trio of businesses he owned.
But here’s the thing…
Jimmy was dumber than a box of rocks.
He didn’t have smarts. But he didn’t need to know what was in the books. He had something even more powerful… something quite rare.
Jimmy had the gift of gab.
The guy could talk to anybody about anything.
Jimmy proved that – as we continue our series on 12 skills we all must master – storytelling is a powerful art.
Become an expert and we have no doubt good things will flow your way.
Tell Me a Tale
Think about this for a moment. Who are history’s greatest storytellers? What did they get done?
It’s easy to think of the literary greats – Shakespeare, Homer, Stephen King.
But what about the business leaders? Richard Branson is known to pull his teams around a campfire to share a story. And Tony Robbins has made a fortune telling his story.
Then there are the men behind the Bible. They told a powerful story that’s managed to sway nations for thousands of years.
And what about your grandparents?
We bet you remember their stories. And we bet they changed your life.
All the greats – including grandma and grandpa – have one trait in common.
This is the most important part of telling a story.
They didn’t tell the story to themselves. They told it to you… their audience.
Think about Trump. He certainly knows who he’s talking to.
Few folks dare to talk about it, but the secret to his success is his ability to connect with the people he is directly speaking to.
During the debates, Trump called Jeb Bush a “tough guy.” He’s called North Korea’s leader “Rocket Man,” and he’s called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”
It’s not what tradition would tell us is presidential… but his audience loves the story his candor tells. They made him president because of it.
Reagan used a similar track. He just did it with a different kind of story.
Even decades after Reagan left the White House, many folks remember the stories he told from the Oval Office.
We recall one where he mused about how he and Nancy quietly went for a stroll in Russia. He painted a soft, hopeful picture of the nation’s people. They loved greeting the American leader in the streets. They yearned for democracy.
But Reagan quickly wove a dire thread into his tale. He told of how the KGB quickly shoved the people aside.
He created a hero and an enemy.
With one 30-second story, the president suddenly had the nation cheering for the people… and hating the government.
It made funding a long and expensive war quite easy.
Bottom line: If you want your audience to hear your story… you must tell them something they want to hear.
Our old neighbor was an expert. He’d talk to us about finance and business and then, when his phone rang, be able to chat with the person on the line about baseball and pop culture.
Everybody loved to talk to Jimmy… and Jimmy did well because of it.
But there’s another trick to storytelling. This one doesn’t get talked about all that much.
It’s perhaps the hardest part of all.
Poise vs. Perfection
Talk to anybody who’s ever had to speak in front of a large group and they’ll tell you giving a speech is the scariest thing they’ve ever done.
They’ll tell you the only way it gets better is with practice.
It’s muscle memory, they’ll say.
That’s not true. They’re just telling you a lie that somebody else told them.
Oh sure, practice will make perfect.
But it has nothing to do with muscle memory or anything like that.
It’s all about confidence.
We hate to do it (any mention of the name loads up our mailbag), but Trump is another fine example. He’s a lousy speaker by most counts, but the man’s confidence more than makes up for it.
One thing is for sure… Trump’s voice doesn’t crack when he’s pointing a finger and telling somebody to shut up.
He’s certainly not second-guessing himself when he’s throwing jabs at the other side.
That’s the key… You must be confident in your tale.
We’ve seen it time and time again. The folks who can tell a story without second-guessing their words… without stumbling through their narration as they wonder how they’re coming across… or who won’t lose sleep because they tripped over a line… those are the folks who get what they want by telling a story.
Again, this doesn’t take practice.
It takes confidence.
You must believe in your story.
That’s why you must take time to ponder the stories you’re most confident telling. These are usually the personal tales you’ve naturally told your friends. Or they may be the stories you’re most proud of… or that invoke the most fear.
And tell them often.
It took us a long time to realize it’s not the quiet, strong type who gets what he wants.
No. It’s the man who effectively shares his story with others who gets what he wants.
Jimmy proved it.
Given the choice… would we rather be endowed with a great inheritance or great storytelling skills?
We’d take the latter every time.
It’s no coincidence the rich and successful are surrounded by folks who want to hear their story.
P.S. You could argue that Trump’s ability to own a room is just as legendary as that of his old pal Bill Clinton. Together, they’ve spent decades yukking it up on the golf course and at fancy events and galas. Now, after a contentious political season, it seems Trump and Clinton are riding together once again.
This story is crazy. It involves an opportunity Clinton himself recently called “staggeringly great.” We’re convinced it could soon be the next No. 1 investment in America. Get all the details here.