Story Upping!

Ever wonder why someone you just met all of a sudden loses interest in you right in the middle of a great story you’re telling them? You’re probably the victim of “Story Upping” and don’t even know it.

Log cabins have a sense of peace, security, hominess and, comfort attached to them and many times our stories become like a log cabin in our conversations—however, even log cabins (stories) can be crushed.

Watch the video below as I explain. If you can’t get the video running, I’ve included a general transcript below it for you to read instead. Enjoy!

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(Transcript of video)

I’m out here at Allardale Park in the Medina County Park District, Ohio. It’s a beautiful park complete with valleys, steps, trails, and stunning scenery.

As I’m walking along, I came across something I want to show you—mainly because it reminded me of a message I’d like to bring to you. Behind me is a collapsed log cabin, but as we get closer to it there’s actually a tree that has fallen on it, but it’s not what caused it to collapse-it came later. I’m not sure what the cabin was used for or why it’s in this condition. I saw it 2-3 years ago when I was out here walking.

What it has reminded me of is a discussion I had with one of my sisters, Terri, just a couple of days ago. As we got into the topic of networking, she said, “You know, one of the things that really bothers me when I meet someone new is how they react as I’m telling them a story about some event in my life. They react by trying to ‘one-up’ my story with another story.”

I actually call that ‘Story Upping’ and it is a real activity which happens in networking events.

Now, we know the value of a good story and its ability to draw you into the life of someone else. We teach it all the time in networking & marketing workshops. Stories help make things viable—they help you sell things. But, if you make a practice of ‘Story Upping,’ essentially using it as a club on another person, you’re using the power of story the wrong way. What happens is you literally kill the enthusiasm in the other person.  Or, as my sister said, “When some one does that, it takes all the wind out of my sails; in fact, I’m not even interested in talking any further with them.”

Here’s an alternative I’d suggest—instead of saying “You know what, I’ve got one worse than that…” or, “You should hear this one,” you should instead say, “You know, I’ve had similar experiences, so I’d be interested in hearing how you felt about what happened, or what really affected you in that story? I’d love to hear.”

Do you see what happened there? You just turned their opinion of you all the way around to a positive experience instead of a frustrating one. Now, you’re engaging with the person and becoming a part of their story with them. So, don’t kill their story by “Story Upping” it, instead engage with them in their story and connect with them on that level.

Don’t crush the cabin. People live in their stories & if you crush it you’re going to have a negative experience with your new friend (or old friend). Let’s keep our cabins (stories) impactful and a source of engagement with others.

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If “Story Upping” is something you do; recognize it, note when it’s happening and, turn it around. You will be surprised at how well your conversations go after this. In my private sessions with my mentoring clients, this has come up several times and I’ve found it interesting that people don’t usually know they are even doing it. Sometimes it takes another person who cares for you to point it out and help with suggestions on how to move forward in a positive light.

If you’re interested in turning your conversations around so they become more impactful, email me about becoming part of a group or individual networking mentoring session where I use a ‘results-oriented’ mindset to help you become more engaging and effective in your networking efforts. By the way, this stuff also helps you to make and close sales in your business.

Reach out to me HERE with the title of “Story Group” and I will forward you more information.

NOTE: “Story Upping” will be the topic of our Networking WOW workshop for the month of November 2016. Held at Rustic Hills Country Club in Medina, Ohio; Nov.16th, 7:30 am – 9:00 am. A discussion will be held as we look into this topic. You can GO HERE to register with the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce.

BONUS TIP: One great way to honor someone and get a relationship off to a great start is to engage in each others stories.

Hope to see you soon.

ONward, Bob Arnold

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As an author, networker, and architect, Bob simply believes in and has seen networking make phenomenal changes in people’s lives and businesses. Check out Bob’s story.