The Art of Conversation A Hidden Treasure Trove for Stories

You may be sitting on a goldmine of untapped stories to use in your presentations, and you don’t even realize it.

How? By paying close attention to your everyday conversations. Let’s explore two ideas that may seem at odds but can work in tandem: The merit of recounting stories you’ve heard from others, versus the advice to rely solely on your own experiences.

Here’s the rule of thumb: If you recount stories from individuals who aren’t professional speakers or colleagues, then make them the hero of the tale. That adds credibility and intrigue to your presentation.

Once you actively listen and keep your senses alert, you’ll find an abundance of stories to enrich your presentations.

A Lesson in Exceptional Service: The Story of Gary Richter

Early in my career, I was speaking on good customer service at a banking conference. In the coffee break that followed I had the pleasure of meeting a very colorful character I have never forgotten. He told me he was Gary Richter, and was President of a boutique bank in Naples, Florida. He asked, “Patricia, if an elderly woman calls our bank at 5:20 PM to cash a $200 check, and she’s twenty minutes away, but we close at 5:30, what does good service look like?”

My answer was straightforward: “Stay open.”

He took it a step further: “We don’t offer good service; we offer exceptional service. We told her to stay put. One of our employees would drop by her house on their way home, deliver $200, and pick up the endorsed check.”

The kicker? Despite her small account balance, this lady was very affluent. Moved by their exceptional service, she transferred all her assets from a large national bank to Gary’s.

Five years ago, I was speaking at another banking conference and thought I should tell the story.

I searched for Gary and we had a wonderful experience. We both had fond memories of our meeting decades before.  Since we had met, I had done quite well for myself and Garrett Richter was then a Member of the Florida House of Representatives. Yes, I know, he has done much better than I have!

Remember, don’t overlook valuable conversations that could provide priceless stories for your presentations.

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