I ran into Molly on a Saturday morning at the bank.
“Phil, we’re having tours of our new building this summer. What are you doing this Tuesday at 5:30?”
Molly runs the Center for Family Health, a healthcare facility for Jackson that is especially helpful for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured patients in our community. They just consolidated two facilities into one shiny building a couple blocks from our store.
I went, expecting the usual, a high-ranking person, maybe Molly herself, walking us through the building with a bunch of blah blah numbers about healthcare and how important they are to the community.
Oh we got that. But we also got a whole bunch more. At each stop along the tour we met a new person who shared a few facts with us. Then that person gave us a testimonial from a patient, put a face on that department and showed us with tear-jerking reality what a difference they make in the lives of people we know.
By the third stop I was looking for a tissue box.
The stories were real. The stories were emotional. The stories were about situations you and I could relate to. The stories were illustrative of the services offered by the center. I sat in a dental area and saw a picture of an 8-year old girl with teeth black and rotting. Then I saw a picture of the same girl at 16 with a full, beautiful toothy smile. I didn’t need a dentist with facts and figures and flow charts to figure out what they do. I knew from those pictures and her story.
I’m glad I went. More importantly, I’m glad they understood the power of stories. I cannot remember a single fact they shared with me (well, except the 500 births they do each year – that was surprising and useful information), but I remember all the stories in detail. I walked out of the building wanting to share what I had learned with the world.
I just did.
PS You have stories. Tell them. They are more memorable and make a stronger, more emotional connection than facts and data ever could. Remember, we make more decisions with our heart than our mind and when the heart and mind are at odds, the heart almost always wins. We use our brains to justify what our hearts have already decided.