In the summer of 2015, 17 year old Yusra Mardini's house was destroyed in the Syrian civil war.
By August of that year she and her sister, Sarah, knew they had to flee if they were to have any chance at not only a normal life...but a life at all.
Through various means and modes of transportation traveled nearly 800 miles through Lebanon and Turkey, where they arranged to be smuggled into Greece.
The smugglers had gathered 18 other migrants and placed all 20 of them into a boat in order to cross a part of the Aegean Sea and reach Greece.
However, the boat was only built to hold six or seven passengers at most...
Which is why the little motor stopped working...
And the boat began taking on water...
So this accomplished swimmer—she had represented Syria in the 2012 FINA World Swimming Championships when she was just 14—did what any swimmer would do...
She dove into the water with her sister and two other people who could swim and pushed the boat...
For over three hours until they reached the Greek island of Lesos.
From there she and her sister settled in Germany and earlier this month, Yusra Mardini competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team.
How's that for commitment and fighting the odds?
But why did I share this story with you? Is it because I'm an Olympic history buff?
I did it to demonstrate the power of storytelling.
Since humans drew on caves we've been captivated by stories.
As kids we were captivated by the words "once upon a time."
As adults we still anxiously await the trailer for the next Star Wars release, and people line up in costume for hours to be the first to see it when it is released.
Stories help us connect with our audience and that connection is often described as being on the same wavelength.
In technical parlance we are practicing the theory of interactive linguistic alignment. We are interacting and creating alignment through language.
Why is that important in sales?
As Princeton University neuroscientists Greg Stephens and Uri Hasson detailed in the July 27, 2010 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, speaking and listening uses common neural subsystems in our brains and when we effectively engage with our audience through great storytelling, those areas overlap and the resulting alignment is almost as though our brains—and we—are physically connected.
Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D., wrote an called Emotional Memory Management: Positive Control Over Your Memory that described how our brains do not know the difference between real and imagined.
It's why we jump at the scary scenes while watching a movie in the comfort of our homes. It's why we feel warm and fuzzy when simply looking at the photograph of a loved one or even merely thinking of them.
By embracing your audience with your words by way of great storytelling, it's just as effective as if you had walked down and hugged every one of them, or patted them on the back, or shook their hands and spoke only to them as you gave them a word of encouragment or hope.
What are you doing to improve your storytelling abilities?
Are you all work and no play?
That makes Jack a dull boy, and you're not dull, are you?
Wanna know where the non-dull Jacks and Jills hang out and tell tall tales that'll help your sales grow?