The most powerful way to get people to embrace your ideas is to package them in stories.-
The way to reach voters is not with ideas, not with framing, but with stories. Stories are to ideas for the heart and mind what enzymes are to the body. They turn them on and act as delivery systems for putting ideas that are properly framed into dynamic, energized action in the heart and mind. If you take a candidacy, an issue you advocate, even a product or service and tell a story that explains why the listener should support or buy it, vote for it, and advocate for it, you will be much more like to get a positive result.
I run a conference on story -- StoryCon, the Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story.
I have been helping candidates to identify stories in their lives that help them define who they are, their values, accomplishments, and then, how to weave them into stump speeches so they support issue positions. The key is HOW they are presented, so they are most effective at reaching not just the heads but the hearts of the people in the audience.
Here's how it works.
A candidate decides he or she wants to take his/her stump speech beyond just the intellectual, that the next level is to share more about his/her self and reach potential supporters hearts as well as heads.
We set a meeting time. I give the candidate homework:
Dredge up stories in your life that exemplify who you are, what you stand for, successes, sacrifices. Don't expect them to come easy. You can't pull them up, like you can list the files in a hard drive directory. Some, a few will be easy, but then, you have to wait. Program your mind and then as they bubble up, as you go through your day, just start jotting them down.
Then there are the stories you have already been telling. Some, you may be telling in your stump speeches already. Some, you may realize you've been telling over and over again to teach some lesson. The goal at this point is to start inventorying the stories that mean something to you, that stand out in your memory.
I like to tell the story about my experience with the biofeedback ring I invented. I came close to getting rich. I tell the story to people who are in exciting situations with great opportunities who I see are ready to "ride the roller coaster" for the first time. My "ring" story taught, including flying in private Lear jets, signing million dollar contracts, full page ads published in national magazines taught me to view opportunities with a cooler head and a different perspective. I've told the story to a lot of people who are just starting their exciting ride on the roller coaster. It's a fun ride, but you never know where it will take you-- sometimes right back to where you started.
Next, start thinking about the heroes in your life. Who are the famous people who are living who are your heroes? Who are the people in your life who are heroes? Who are the heroes from recent and distant history who you respect. For each one explain why.
If Colin Powell is one of your heroes you better be a candidate running as a Republican or in a mostly African American district.
Nelson Mandela is probably the most popular hero among all the people I've asked. Most people also mention family or friends too. The reasons are where the gold is.
What are your greatest accomplishments in your life?
Now, try to remember some scenes in your life:
high point (peak experience)
Significant childhood scene
significant adolescent scene
significant adult scene
Positive and negative people in your life