People are People

Recently my wife and I delivered a VERY important presentation to the President of Scholastic Canada and her executive team.

We were pitching them on the idea of getting involved with a campaign that we run for our charity called Write To Give (

Getting this kind of opportunity isn’t easy and admittedly, we were nervous.

But here’s what we learned from this experience…

Our meeting started off with general pleasantries and a quick intro.

Then we got into the heart of the matter and began working through our presentation.

Between the two of us, Amy and I had spent hundreds of hours preparing for this and had rehearsed what we were going to say over and over.

As we were going along I truly felt like we were doing a great job but we weren’t getting the “I’m in, where-do-I-sign” kind of reaction.

Then we had “technical difficulties” – the slideshow froze (AHHHH!).

Amy (my wife) was smooth as silk as she immediately shifted gears by using our “downtime” to share a couple of stories while I scrambled to get the PowerPoint back up.

In hindsight, this was actually a blessing.

Here’s why…

As I rebooted my computer and got the slides back up, Amy had grabbed the attention of these top executives by sharing meaningful stories that connected what we were doing with the Write To Give campaign to the children and families that were impacted by this program.

Stories like how one of our first Write To Give presentations motivated a group of Kindergartens to give us $0.25 following our talk on what $0.15 really means to their friends in Africa.

Or how our chance encounter with a young man named King William has resulted in a relationship where he has now made thousands and thousands of bracelets for our charity – helping him build a thriving business in his home of Ghana and providing all our kids in Canada with an authentic, hand-made momento.

Or how delivering the Write To Give books to the children authors in Canada is SO rewarding because seeing the pride they experience when opening their book and seeing their name published as a co-author.

It’s these stories that demonstrate the true meaning of what we have accomplished with this campaign and these are the kinds of things that got the best results (a couple of the ladies were even close to tears!).

Finally when I got everything back up and running, I could see that everyone was more relaxed and a conversation had begun.

I jumped in and began sharing a few more stories, cracked a few jokes and before we knew it, what was supposed to be a 30 minute presentation had blossomed into 90+ minutes of brainstorming, questions and genuine interest of how our two organizations could work together.

Amy and I walked out of that meeting feeling on top of the world and forever grateful that we even had a chance to meet with this amazing group of women and we SO look forward to working with them in the near future.

Here’s what I learned from this experience…

At the end of the day, people are people.

Whether they are the CEO of a billion dollar company or local paper boy delivering your morning paper, everyone has feelings, emotions and perceptions.

The fastest way to really connect with your audience (whether it’s one person or 10,000) is to open yourself up and share stories from the heart.

Show that you’re human.

People connect with people NOT slides.

At the end of the day, our slides did look good (and they asked to have a copy!) but it was the stories that we shared where we made our deepest connection.

What are your thoughts?

Has anyone ever shared a “story” in conversation that really moved you to take action?

If so, let us know about it in the comments :)

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  2. How To Win Friends And Influence People

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About Stu McLaren

Stu McLaren helps small business owners get better results from their online marketing. He is the co-founder of an online start-up called WishList Products, creators of the best-selling membership plugin, WishList Member. ---------- DISCLOSURE ---------- Most posts will contain affiliate links for recommended products or services. These are products personally reviewed by Stu McLaren and he will be compensated for any resulting sales.

7 Responses to “People are People”

  1. Thanks Stu for sharing that. I’m working on a presentation for next week, and I’ve been trying to figure out those very things. About Making sure that I’m able to relate to the audience, not just make a presentation.

    Congrats to you and your wife on pulling through that one!


    • Thanks Jim and good luck with your presentation.

      Just be yourself, share your stories and you’ll knock ‘em out of the park ;)

  2. Exactly right… people react on a human level, whoever they may be. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve had very similar experiences both in business and working with NGOs.

    In fact, when I was doing business consulting a few years back, I was famous for showing up at the customer with little to no preparation. My tagalong partner would always have a powerpoint presentation at the ready, but simply listening to the customer and relating to them on the spot worked so much better.

    • I couldn’t agree more.

      Finding that “common ground” goes a long way in connecting with people in a short period of time.

      The faster you find it, chances are, the more successful your presentation will be :)

  3. Cool story Stu.

    People are people. You hit the nail on the head though. The storytelling aspect was far more important and impactful than any slideshow presentation could have been.

    Nice post.

  4. So True Stu, People have a better chance to connect with you if you can connect with them first by sharing your experiences and feelings.

    Anyone can read ‘about’ something but giving your audience the chance to feel their emotions and develop perceptions is powerful. I personally do a lot of writing and in all the writing coursed I’ve taken they all magnify that idea.

    Great post, thanks!

  5. How easily do I forget this simple truth. people are people. Stu, nice post, great reminder. Bro, I love your heart for giving back. My wife and I track the same way.

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