The Power of Parables

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The Power of Parables

Storytelling is the best marketing.

The best information marketer, authors, speakers, and celebrity gossipers are master storytellers. You and I judge a conference, sermon, or workshop on the ability of the presenter to engage us.

If you want to engage people, the easiest way to do it is with stories. Jesus knew this too.

Recently as I read the Bible, I gleaned a few insights about storytelling. I was reading Matthew, Chapter 13, which happens to be a front row account of the world’s first ever impromptu seminar.

In Matthew 13:3,

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.”

Metaphor and allegory make the most powerful stories. Jesus spoke in parables, the sticky kind of stories that last for millennia.

Let’s break down His technique. Jesus sets the stage in the first sentence:

  • He introduces the main character. Jesus uses a farmer in the parable. A farmer is a pretty compelling character. Jesus could have said a “worker” as he did with other parables, but he didn’t. He used the noun meaning farmer.  A person who plants a seed and awaits an outcome.
  • He animates the character. The farmer went out. He set out on a course. He acted on his faith.
  • He establishes the character’s intentions. The farmer went out to sow seed, with the expectation of a harvest in due time.
  • He Builds Suspense. Planting seeds, like any business effort, is a risk. The listeners probably wondered, what happens next? Is the farmer thwarted in his attempt to plant the seed? Will it be a successful growing season?

Jesus knew how to engage first-century audiences. You can use His same strategy to engage your audience. Parables can also be useful helping audiences understand complex or abstract concepts.

Don’t be afraid to share YOUR stories.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

– Maya Angelou

In information marketing, the truth can set you free (financially). Take the time to cultivate stories, your personal story, your brand story, and your customer’s stories.

Stories engage. Stories influence. Stories motivate. Stories SELL.

For a great read motivational read, check out The Power of Story and Metaphor.