My company had our annual meeting over the last two days, and one of the presentations focused on the power of a good story.

This is a video they showed to illustrate the point:

I use stories all the time in and out of work. People hate complaints and hate being sold to, but nobody hates a good story. Here's a quick example:

On Thursday I left my Blackberry in one of the boxes at the Boston Garden. On Friday, I called up Verizon, and they were able to hook me up with a discount on a new (much cooler) phone running Android. On Saturday I went to the Verizon store in downtown Boston, got my new phone, and walked out happy, right? Wrong.

Unfortunately, my wife had come with me to pickup my phone, and she was planning to upgrade from a Blackberry to Android as well. Understandably, she assumed that since Verizon was letting me upgrade early after losing my phone, they would let her (the responsible one who did not lose her phone) upgrade at the same time. This was not the case, and after trying to logically explain to the rep at the store why they should let us buy a second phone at a discounted rate the rep refused, my wife left empty handed, and it brought on a serious case of gadget envy.

When we got home, I called up Verizon customer service and took a different strategy. Rather than complaining that we only got one phone, I told the customer service rep the entire story, with the focus on how happy I was that they let me upgrade early, but how giving me a cool new phone lead to unforeseen consequences and marital discord. He loved the story, and was able to pull some strings to get the new phone sent out the same day.

By telling a story rather than trying to persuade with logical arguments, it is ofter easier to foster a feeling of a shared purpose, rather than an adversarial relationship. This can often be a much easier, and much more enjoyable way to get to a desired result.