Art of the Tale

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Salespeople as storytellers

By Andrea Hill

Think for a moment about the best storyteller you know. He (or she) has mastered the art of telling not too much detail and not too little. The only elements offered are those relevant to the story, meant to give context now or lay groundwork for later. The best storyteller I know is my dad, and now that I’ve heard him tell the same stories to adults that he told to us as children, I am aware that he tailors his stories to his audience, tweaking the setting, tone, and mood to be just the right amount of frightening, funny, or sad.

Contrast this artful weaving of information and building of suspense with a not-so-fortunate teller of stories: the person who meanders aimlessly through far too many details until he (and we) are lost in the numbing “muchness” of it.