Effortless Influence: The Simple ‘Pain-Pivot-Prize’ Technique for Natural Business Storytelling

What I’ve been hearing since the COVID-19 pandemic is that getting prospects over the finishing line is harder than knitting a sweater with spaghetti. Inspiring colleagues, convincing investors you’re worth their money, or winning over prospects can be very arduous.  

Most people either: 

  • Tell people what needs to be done 
  • Or, expect the data alone to woo and wow 

Data and facts won’t always get people over the finishing line.  You need an emotional element to get people’s buy-in. So tapping into peoples’ emotions is an essential part of influence skills training. 

But don’t worry. That doesn’t mean grand theatrics, a simple story will do the trick and storytelling skills are what we are looking at here. And as much as many of you know this, the problem that I hear amongst my clients is: 

“But WHERE do we use a story?” 

Using storytelling skills to influence people with this conversational structure

Shoehorning a novel into a conversation obviously isn’t the way to go. You want to sprinkle in a short narrative that takes your listener on a relatable journey and leads to buy-in. For that, here’s the structure to make your business storytelling feel and sound natural.  It’s as follows: 

Pain – State the problem or difficulty; 

Pivot – Describe how the problem was turned around. 

Prize – Define the happy outcome. 

Here are three examples:  

Example One: 

Pain: My weekend baking project was a disaster. I was aiming for fluffy, golden brown cupcakes, but they turned out dense and weirdly green.  

Pivot: Then I remembered a jar of homemade lemon curd in the fridge.  

Prize: I crumbled the cupcakes into a mason jar, layered them with the lemon curd, and topped it all off with fresh berries. Delicious! 

Example Two: 

Pain:  Emma realized she had double-booked meetings with two important clients at the same time.  

Pivot: She delegated one meeting to a trusted colleague and prepared a thorough briefing.  

Prize:  After two successful meetings, the colleague was given a chance to shine, and Emma’s reputation for effective team management solidified. 

Example Three: 

Pain: Because my train was delayed for 45 minutes, I had no time to test a critical bug fix before a client meeting  

Pivot:  That’s when I remembered a new cloud-based testing platform we’d been exploring. 

Prize: I uploaded the fix to the platform on my phone during the train ride. Accessing it remotely meant I could test and present the fix. One happy client and my sanity saved! 

Your Action

How you can use storytelling skills to effortlessly influence 

So how can you use storytelling skills to influence people in an easy and natural way? Here are three actions for you to put into practice: 

  1. Identify your core message: What’s the main point you want to bring out? In Example One, it might be resourcefulness. In Three, your key message is about how Cloud tech can make life easier.
  2. Give the ‘Pain, Pivot, Prize’ structure a workout: This technique can work in team meetings, conversations with colleagues, chats with prospects and interactions with clients. This helps refine your ability to distil complex situations into concise, impactful stories.
  3. Customize anecdotes: This will help you resonate with the specific interests and needs of your audience. Whether it’s investors, clients or internal teams, the story should speak directly to their concerns and aspirations. Here’s how to adjust one or two details to make them relevant.

I can develop your storytelling skills with tangible results 

Are you thinking of using stories more but don’t know how to find them, where to use them or how to structure a narrative?  Then consider some storytelling skills training. Contact me here for a free 15-minute Discovery Call (no strings attached!) 

Business storytelling gives you the edge in influencing others. You’ll highlight your credibility without sounding like you’re blowing your trumpet. Storytelling also motivates others through articulating your listeners’ pain and the outcomes to which they aspire. Using this structure allows you to use narratives naturally. 

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