Summary of Lead with a Story

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Once upon a time, young manager Paul Smith worked diligently to prepare a slide presentation for the CEO of Procter & Gamble, A. G. Lafley. To Smith’s dismay, Lafley sat with his back to the screen and didn’t glance at the slides, choosing instead to focus solely on Smith. This taught Smith a valuable lesson: A fact-based pitch never works as well as a story. In this helpful manual, Smith offers more than 100 stories readers can use in a variety of business situations. He teaches the basics of storytelling, including examples and exercises. Smith’s easy and absorbing manner draws you into each tale. getAbstract recommends that managers, salespeople and presenters read this charming compilation, from its useful instructions all the way to its happily ever after.

About the Author

Paul Smith, a public speaker and leadership coach, is director of Consumer & Communication Research at Procter & Gamble.



Story Time

One day Jim, a young research and development employee at Procter & Gamble (P&G), decided to change his dull, data-filled monthly memo. He composed a story about Earnest Engineer to present his statistics. The memo was a big hit. Jim’s subsequent memos included such characters as Max Profit, Sella Case and Ed Zecutive. The stories attracted a loyal following throughout the company. Storytelling boosts any communication, even a statistician’s report.

Stories are the best way to engage people because they are “simple” and “timeless.” Stories reach all demographics and “all types of learners,” and are “contagious,” easy to recall and inspiring. They fit workplace learning, “put the listener in a mental learning mode” and “show respect for the audience.”

Basic Story Components

The basic components of a story, expressed by the mnemonic CAR, are “Context, Action, Result.” The context is the story’s environment and plot. Context explains:

  1. “Background” – What is the story’s setting, location and time frame?
  2. “Subject” – Who is the primary person in the plot?
  3. “Treasure”

More on this topic

Narrative and Numbers
You Are Awesome
The Write to Happiness
Stories that Stick
The 7 Secrets to Selling More by Selling Less
Face to Face

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    D. M. 1 year ago
    Good story
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    M. F. 1 year ago
    Good learning
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    S. B. 6 years ago
    Same with me, it keeps asking me to login even after I have logged in :(
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    W. K. 6 years ago
    This technology is frustrating. can't download. Tells me to login after already login. I do it again and tells me to login in again.
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      Julia Zocolo 6 years ago
      Hello William,
      Sorry you are having difficulties. I will send you a separate email to the email on file on how to access your subscription.

      Thank you,
      Your getAbstract Team
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    M. T. 8 years ago
    The Summary could have been a little longer.
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    A. T. 8 years ago
    Personal stories are better -- sorry that this focuses on canned stories.
  • Avatar
    C. S. 8 years ago
    Confidence crushed after seeing and now dreading the look of eyes glazing over as you lose an audience due to lack of knowing how to tell a story right. Boy does it hurt. This gives me hope. Thank you.
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    j. h. 8 years ago
    Excelent....we need this now in the black/white world of numbers!
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    8 years ago
    Good story. I will be telling it.
  • Avatar
    J. P. 8 years ago
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    P. H. 8 years ago
    looks interesting !!
  • Avatar
    J. S. 9 years ago
    a few more non P&G examples would be good, although I like the style and approach. I think the small section on feedback needs to be explored further if you are wanting to use the model suggested. Thanks