I was once at a conference where the attendees were asked to turn to a stranger sitting next to them and tell them a story that’s told and retold in their family about a family member. I turned to Lisa Watson and told her the following story.
Before heading into surgery for testicular cancer my father-in-law said to the nurse, “I sure wish I would have bought that boat.”
“What boat’s that?” the nurse asked politely.
“The one I looked at last weekend.”
“Because I won’t have the balls to do it tomorrow.”
Lisa Watson and I had a good laugh, and when the speaker asked audience members to tell the story that had been told to them, she recounted my father-in-law’s story. There was a brief pause before the room exploded in laughter.
The point of the exercise is that a two-minute story communicates so much more than reciting facts. And it’s memorable. I could have told you, “My father-in-law was one of the funniest men I’ve ever known, even when life threw him curves,” but you wouldn’t remember me or my father-in-law; nor would you know as much about him as you do from the story.
And we both know you’ll retell the story and remember it for a very long time.