CHAPTER 4Our Brains on Story

We make sense of the events of our lives through stories.

—Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of Mindsight

The Barriers

We tend to put up barriers to people trying to influence us, and for good reason. It’s a natural defense mechanism. We do it to protect ourselves.

At the start of our Story Leaders workshops, we ask participants—usually a group of salespeople—to name the professions they trust the least. “Politicians!” is almost always the first answer, usually followed by “Salespeople!” And then, like clockwork, everyone in the room starts to laugh.

As salespeople, we know how difficult it is to build trust. Most of us have had bad experiences with salespeople ourselves. We know the uncomfortable feeling of being “sold ...

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