During a conference I was presenting at in Eastern Europe, I was given the opportunity to do an on-air interview for a popular TV station in Bucharest. I had no idea what I was going to be asked about other than something to do with marketing.
Did the TV reporter ask about me or my agency? Did he ask me about the conference or my presentation? No, of course not. He asked me for quick stories about innovative advertising and marketing — five of them. All to be told in five minutes. I learned this right before the cameras rolled.
There was no backing out, and ultimately, I was able to come up with two random stories that made it to the live interview. My storytelling was not weak, but not strong either.
The experience reinforced this lesson: Whether you are an individiual contributor in Sales or Marketing or you hold a leadership position, you must have a healthy number of stories on tap for whatever expertise you want to be known for. This applies to networking, meetings with prospects, media interviews, on social media and in your writing. To put it simply: Facts tell, stories sell.