July 7, 2020

What comes first, the story or the message?


People often ask me what comes first, the story or the message?

Typically, I start with being clear on the message I want to communicate. Then I find an appropriate story that demonstrates my point. Having said that, sometimes a story is so good that it works the other way.

This happened to me recently, when my daughter Alex introduced me to adding preservative free wine drops to a bottle of red. Apparently, adding five drops to a bottle reduces the effects that the preservatives in red wine have on you the next morning.

Wine Drops Drama

Last Friday, the fire was lit, a bag of chips was opened, and the wine drops had been added to the bottle of red. It was time to pour Alex and myself a glass of Shiraz.

When Alex went to refill our wine glasses, she picked up the drops next to the wine and asked, ‘Mum, you didn’t add this to the wine did you?’

I responded, ‘Yes – why do you ask?’ I was wondering why she would ask a stupid question. Especially considering she was the one that got me using the wine drops in the first place.

Alex exclaimed, ‘Because these are eye drops not wine drops …you have probably poisoned us!’

My initial reaction was to wonder which idiot left the eye drops next to the alcohol sitting on the bench rather than putting them back in the medicine cabinet. I’d also like to point out that the bottles had a similar style, just different colours. The eye drops were called Blink – Relief with every blink. Even if I’d read the label, I could have easily thought it said Drink – Relief with every drink. So, it was an easy mistake to make!

Finding the Message

Upon further consideration, I decided that I was going to find a way to share this story. It is a great anecdote that could easily be linked to the consequences of making assumptions.

Sharing stories in business isn’t about significant events or life changing moments. It’s the everyday stories that people relate to the most.

Learning how to find and share stories that match your business messages not only improves your ability to influence others but also helps you to communicate with success.

If these skills will help you or your team, let’s chat about my virtual workshops. Alternatively, you may like to register for my upcoming public webcasts below:

Business Storytelling

9th July 9am – 12pm

14th July 1 – 4pm

I am also running public virtual webcasts on Presenting with Impact – onstage and online. You can find out more and register at the links below.

Presenting with Impact

22nd July 9am-11am

29th July 1 – 3pm