Storytelling Works Better Than Viagra

My brother, Mike, is a family practice physician and has the well-earned reputation of being an excellent humorous storyteller.  He can make the most normal human moments comical to the point that everyone within earshot will be laughing. 

When Viagra first hit the market as the new wonder drug for men, patients were asking for a prescription by the dozens. One day, Mike had an elderly male patient in his office inquiring about a prescription. After Mike had counseled his patient and explained the drug effects and possible side effects, the patient asked him a few questions. Obviously, he wanted to know based on his health, was he a candidate for this new drug? Mike confirmed that he was based on his medical evaluation. 

The patient shook his head slowly upon hearing this news.  He looked up at Mike and asked as sincerely as he could, “Dr. Havens, does this drug really work?”  Mike responded that he received very positive feedback from his patients who had tried the new drug. Mike also shared, “Although I haven’t personally tried it, they did send me this new watch.” Then Mike raised the sleeve of his lab coat to show his patient his new Viagra watch. 

“I can tell you this, after I got this new watch in the mail and put it on my wrist, it was three days before I could get my arm back down to my side.” Mike’s patient laughed and said, “Sign me up, Doc!”

Mike frequently uses humor in his stories to patients as he provides insights for them to make health decisions. His ability to diagnose combined with his ability to communicate complicated medical issues in stories using common terms is what makes him distinctive as a physician. The real insight for us in this blog is the power of the story.

Our ability to do data analysis and the skill set to do analytical work on businesses does not make us distinctive. Lots of professionals and firms will have the ability to crunch data and perform data analytics. Our distinction in the marketplace, our exponential value and our ability to impact clients and businesses comes from a deep understanding of that business or industry and communicating those unique insights in a story that connects the dots for people. The ability to use anticipation to help see what’s coming. The greatest distinction and value will come when we use our understanding and insights to anticipate what’s possible and enter into those conversations.   

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Topics: Communication, Client Service, storytelling, Insight

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