Issue link: http://ailahub.aila.org/i/329586
www.aila.org 5 by Reid Trautz O nce upon a time . . . When you see those words, what do they evoke? ey do more than signal a story's beginning; they make us feel. ey momentarily bring back memories of childhood. ey make us feel something beyond the words themselves. Words inform. ey help us communicate. Words can be powerful, but more importantly, words can be made powerful. Martin Luther King did not deliver the "I Have a Plan" speech—he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Rather than lay out facts in a plan, he told a story more powerful than setting forth a plan to change the direction of this country. Facts are dry and boring. String a few statistics together about immigration outcomes (or whatever topic) and listeners' eyes start to glaze over. However, if instead of dry numbers we choose to tell a story to illustrate the same point, listeners' perk up. e power of stories is that they make us feel! ey make us feel happy, sad, or angry. ey help us to understand. Stories connect us more quickly. We find commonalities that evidence a shared understanding. at builds trust. Trust builds great relationships. So how can you incorporate stories into your marketing and client communication/service process? You have to know what makes a good story and when to engage them. A good story has bad guy (a person or an entity), a hero, and a happy ending. A good story contains a message that transcends time to be applicable to others. e story should help the client see your impact. A story can display your talents, passion, wisdom, and foresight. It should also help the client see what you can do for them—how hiring you or following your advice is the best decision for them. As an example, think of a case outcome that is memorable to you and showcases your talent. It probably has a happy outcome for your client. Who are the characters? Who is the "bad guy" and who is the "hero?" What lesson can others learn from this experience? You now have the basis for a good story that can help educate future clients. Your stories should paint a descriptive picture of the situation. is helps you and your client reach a common understanding of the issue at hand. It also signals to the client that you have been listening. Create authentic characters in the story by describing them in some detail. If the story contains a judge, adjudicating officer, or others, take a few words or sentences to describe them to your client. Use metaphors in your story. Using appropriate metaphors helps listeners see, hear, and feel, sharpening their comprehension of conversations, especially about legal matters in which they have little understanding. When can you incorporate stories into the client experience? Start with your website. Tell the story of how you can help your site's visitors. Don't tout how great your firm is— showcase what you offer to solve the potential client's problem. Consider a professionally produced video instead of just text on a page to show them your expertise and attract their interest as a potential client. The Power of Storytelling CONTINUED on pg.6 >> u LET ME TELL YOU A STORY ... AILA member Carlos Batara engages clients with his video: Why Am I An Immigration Attorney?