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Peter Guber is the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, the owner and Co-Executive Chairman of the Golden State Warriors, a professor at UCLA, and an accomplished Hollywood film[…]

Whether asking for a raise or pitching an idea, “emotionalizing” your case helps people metabolize the information of your argument.

Question: How do you motivate someone who feels they aren’t a good story teller?

Peter Guber: First I check to see if they're breathing. Because if they're not breathing, it's one of the key signs that they're not going to be a good storyteller, teller of stories or a good listener. In fact, they probably won't be good for much of anything. So are they breathing?

Then I try to acknowledge that if they’re breathing that they occasionally laugh and smile when they hear something. That means they have some emotional basis because telling purposeful stories is emotional transportation. So they have no emotion, they don’t cry, they don’t laugh, they’re not itchy, they’re not tired, they’re not excited, they’re not able to do anything, they don’t smile, then we got a problem. I can’t help those people, they can’t help themselves, they need Prozac. They need something else.

But if they want to interface with the world and have the world, any part, one or many join their club, join their church, participate in their charity, get a raise, get a new job, help get somebody to work for their company, sell their product, whatever they want other people to do oneof the greatest tools of choice is using the power of telling a purposeful story. To engage that person, to transmit and communicate the information, analytics, data, facts and figures into them which they’ll then metabolize, which they then can act on for their success or for your success as well. That’s the way it works.

When you tell a story, any kind of story,and you aim for somebody’s wallet or you look at them as customers or clients or patrons, they protect their groin and their backside, their wallet. That’s what they do, naturally. You’re aiming for transactions. When you aim for relation and you aim for their heart, that’s where hits are born. When it does that it migrates to your head and to your wallet. In other words, your aim for the perfect target is to emotionalize your offering so then the person actually metabolizes the information, the data and the facts in the form of a story. It does two things: acts on it, moves their feet or their wallet, creates a relationship, more than a transaction; and most importantly, they become advocates or apostles for theposition and pass along the story as theirs. That’s the key. That’s theirs, it’s their joke, it’s their stories, it’s their narrative. And when they do that, it becomes viral. 

Question: What compelled you to share your story-telling skills with the rest of the world? 

Peter Guber: The reason I wrote this book, Tell to Win, was I thought here’s tool that everybody hasand so many people don’t use. It’s like walking around thinking I’m gonna play golf and all I got is a putter. Well, you’ve got 500 yards to get to the hole to start putting. What are you gonna use? Right? All these tools that you have in your tool kit for telling purposeful stories, you’ve been wired, you’ve been designed for. God gave you them. They’re in you. That’s how our species survived, that’s how we prospered.

So what are those tools? They’re magic. Any one of them in telling a purposeful story for your success to win can be a game changer for you, for all of us. Understanding motivation, not motivating you, motivating you… your authenticity, make sure you’re intention is aligned before you walk into the room to tell any story. Make sure your intention's in line because that’s your authenticity. And it shines through before you speak the first word.

Your audience. Don’t think of them as customers or clients. Think of them as an audience. They expect experiences. And that’s what you’ve got to deliver. And that’s what narrative does, deliver experiences. But know what’s interesting. Don’t try to be interesting… be interested. Think about what’s in it for them. Make sure you spend a little time to cut through the cacophony of their noise, disrupt it so you will have a good landing platform for your tell.

Then remember you have a goal. Don’t walk in without a goal! Know what you’re goal is, you’re wasting your time and theirs, and don’t hide it. All they’ll see is you’re hiding something. Pride it; make sure that goal is generous. Show you have skin in the game. Show you have a real understanding of what laughing and crying together means. And then be interactive. Remember, you’re not telling a story in an empty vacuum or a vacuum or emptiness. You’re telling it with another human being or a group of human beings there. Be interactive, engage them. Don’t make them passengers, make them participants. That’s what the Internet does. You should do it in your life. Make them participants. Engage them so that metabolically they own your story and then find a story anywhere.

Content. Find it anywhere, your life experience, somebody else’s life experience, history, movies, and just embed the information in it, and realize you’re in emotional transportation business. Move them. Make them laugh, cry, cheer, feel, and they’ll remember that information and that story forever and will buy your product, will join your club, will join your church, will participate in your company, will be a customer or client on a relationship basis. Not just a transactional one. 



Recorded January 19, 2011

Interviewed by Andrew Dermont

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd