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Could Storytelling Be Your Secret Sauce to Success?

Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011 | 10:15 AM ET
Tell to Win
Tell to Win

One of my heroes - the legendary Don Hewitt of "60 Minutes" fame began each of his pitch meetings by saying, "tell me a story."

Simple request.

Tell me a story...tell me something that will move me, interest me, educate me - something that will stay with me.

Telling stories is something reporters do everyday. It's also something teachers, politicians, business owners, sales reps, and CEOs do.

Telling stories is essential when pitching a job, a new idea, even new department goals. Telling stories is what we do when we want to communicate our needs and goals.

And yet, there are few people who know how to tell a really good story.

In his new book Peter Guber (yes, THAT Peter Guber of Sony, Columbia Pictures and of Mandalay Entertainment Group) says that telling a purposeful story has never been more necessary. He says that in a "world of state-of-the-art technology, communicating through state-of-the-heart-technology can be your biggest game-changer."

In "TELL TO WIN: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story" Guber says "To succeed, you have to persuade others to support your vision, dream, or cause" that you should think of "telling to win as the secret sauce for success."

Click ahead to read an excerpt from "TELL TO WIN"to learn how telling a compelling story can be your "game-changer."

Excerpted from "TELL TO WIN: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story" Copyright @ 2011 by Peter Guber. Reprinted by Permission of Crown Business, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

COULD TELLING TO WIN BE YOUR GAME-CHANGER?

Tell to Win
Tell to Win

In my life I've experienced tremendous success across diverse ventures and industries, but I've also had a boatload of professional tip-overs, economic mishaps, managerial disasters, and creative flops. I've backed products that left my bank account empty and my garage full of unsold inventory. I've started music companies that were off-tune and bought the Las Vegas Thunder,a pro hockey team that then went on to a five-year profit-losing streak with an audience that didn't give a puck.

My movies weren't all boffo, either.

Folks tried to walk out on The Bonfire of the Vanitieseven when it was shown on planes, and I certainly had my ups and downs at Sony . These losses were financially and emotionally painful-and often highly public. And my many successes only made the failures that much more confounding. For years I wondered, was I ruled by dumb luck? Or was there a game-changer that would enlarge my target, sharpen my trajectory, accelerate my momentum, and shorten the distance to my goal? Wouldn't it be terrific if this game-changer also increased the joy of the enterprise?

If somebody invented a technology that accomplished all this, they'd make a fortune!

After my loss in Vegas, it occurred to me that everybody in business shares one universal problem: To succeed, you have to persuade others to support your vision, dream, or cause. Whether you want to motivate your executives, organize your shareholders, shape your media, engage your customers, win over investors, or land a job, you have to deliver a clarion call that will get your listeners' attention, emotionalize your goal as theirs, and move them to act in your favor. You have to reach their hearts as well as their minds-and this is just what story telling does!

"To succeed, you have to persuade others to support your vision, dream, or cause." -Author, Tell to Win, Peter Gruber

What if purposeful story telling was the game-changer I'd been looking for all along?

I'd taught for more than thirty years that stories teach, model, unite, and motivate by transporting audiences emotionally. Many of my films, including Rain Man¸ Gorillas in the Mist, and Midnight Express, delivered purposeful calls to action that went far beyond entertainment. Because audience members were emotionally moved by each film's central message, they passed that message on to others by telling and retelling the story of their own experience of the film. And that word of mouth moved millions more as the story traveled orally around the globe. Each of these retellings extended the reach and impact of the original story, but each new teller also turned that story into something new and different by adding his or her own emotion to it-proof that you don't have to be a professional to tell a moving story.

Anyone can do it, and everyone does do it!

I got more and more excited as I began to see telling to win as the secret sauce for success. You don't need a special degree to tell the story of your company, brand, or offering and make it a powerful call to action. You don't need money or privilege. This really is a vital skill that's freely available to anyone! Moreover, telling stories is a source of joy as well as success. It's like a guilty pleasure that's also lucrative.

What could be better?

About the author:

PETER GUBER has served as Studio Chief at Columbia Pictures; Co-Chairman of Casablanca Records and Filmworks; CEO of Polygram Entertainment; Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment; and Chairman and CEO of his current venture, Mandalay Entertainment Group. Among the award-winning films he has produced or executive produced are “Midnight Express,” “The Color Purple,” “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Batman,” and “Rain Man.” Currently, Guber oversees one of America's largest combinations of professional baseball teams and venues and is in the process of being confirmed as the new co-owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors. He is also a longtime professor at UCLA, a Harvard Business Review contributor, and host of a national weekly television show.

Email me at bullishonbooks@cnbc.comAnd follow me on Twitter @BullishonBooks

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