The Storyteller’s Secret: Conversation with Carmine Gallo

Created: Wednesday, February 10, 2016, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:00 am

Carmine GalloCarmine Gallo is a communication coach for the world’s most admired brands. He has helped transform the storytelling culture at Intel, Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, Chevron, and many others. He is an Emmy award-winning journalist, columnist, and popular keynote speaker on the topic of leadership and communication.

In this conversation, Carmine discusses his new book, The Storyteller’s Secret.

Geetesh: Can you tell us more about the idea, and the motivation that inspired your new book, The Storyteller’s Secret?

The Storyteller’s SecretCarmine: I believe that storytelling is everything in today’s world. Storytelling is the one skill that helps you stand apart in the age of automation. Storytelling is what makes a PowerPoint really sing. Storytelling is the secret to career advancement, social media success, selling products, building brands and launching movements.

I didn’t go looking for the topic; it found me. I’ll tell you exactly when I knew I had to write the book. I was invited to speak at a conference held by the billionaire venture capital investor Vinod Khosla. Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Tony Blair, Marc Benioff were also speaking. I began to question why he had invited me. “All of you are brilliant, which is why I invest in you,” he told the young CEOs gathered in the hall…”but few of you know how to do storytelling.” That was the ‘aha’ moment.

Geetesh: Although The Storyteller’s Secret is not a storybook, it does hold a reader’s interest in the same way as a gripping story. And that brings me to the real question. Most people relate a story to a work of fiction, but what about stories that are not fictional? Do these non-fictional stories exist, and if they do, can they help communicate better?

Carmine: For our purposes ‘storytelling’ means using the components of narrative to sell your idea. Ideas that catch on are wrapped in a story. For example, one of the greatest corporate storytellers of our time was Steve Jobs. His presentations were more like performances/plays than a typical presentation. He introduced villains, heroes, characters, props, entertainment.

The other day I had lunch with a venture capital investor for a prominent firm. “I’ve seen 2,000 presentations but I can only remember about 10 of them, and those all had personal stories in them.”

You see, people don’t want to buy a product as much as they want to buy into a story. For example, why does Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz always tell the story of growing up poor and struggling as a youth when his father was injured at work? They had no health insurance and it was hard on the family. Schultz uses the story to explain the ‘why’ behind the company’s initiatives such as providing health care for all employees. Stories inform, illuminate and inspire. Tell more of them!

See Also: Carmine Gallo on Indezine

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