Method Tell and sell
Introduction
“Tell and Sell” a product is an important lifelong skill. This method will help get students thinking about how to promote their work with short stories.

Stories engage the brain through a phenomenon called neural coupling, causing brain waves in the listener to mirror those of the storyteller. Stories help us hook readers emotionally. Engaged emotions help create empathy with the speaker/ writer.

Stories light up the brain more than factual reporting or data. When people read factual reports, only two regions of the brain activate. FMRI studies show that storytelling activates additional areas of the brain. The brain reacts to stories as if they are actually happening to the reader.

Stories change the brain’s chemistry. When a reader is engaged with an emotional story their brain produces oxytocin (the “trust hormone”), a substance proven to increase trustworthiness and generosity. (Richards, 2017)[i]

Suitable for small and large groups.

Aim To improve student’s writing and negotiation skills.
Target group Students of all courses and all study fields.
Intended learning outcomes
  • Enhanced negotiation, presentation and writing skills.
  • Improved ability for students to apply what they are learning.
  • Enhanced ability to devise and deliver an effective story.
Description
The activity begins with a brief lesson. Share an example piece of writing and instruct about persuasion, or using words to influence the reader’s decision.

Students write an entire story in just 140 characters.

Example I

A good headline tells you what the story is about, grabs your attention and leaves you wanting to know more.

The headline needs to be accurate and written in clear language. Read some story summaries and then write a headline for each one. Now, get into small groups and share your headlines. Which ones do you like? Why?

Example II

Sell a product

Step 1: Gather Information

Yes, it’s the information age which means the more info you’re armed with, the better off you’ll be.

Step 2: Prepare a Professional Presentation

After you’ve gathered all the relevant information, you’ll need to present it to other course participants (potenital clients/investors). Along with your most effective tool a three-dimensional prototype model you should develop a simple sell sheet to convey all the information you’ve gathered.

Your sell sheet should be a one- or two-page document that clearly states the following:

  • The problem, challenge or need the product meets
  • The product’s features and benefits
  • Your product’s market

You should also develop an introductory letter to accompany your sell sheet, which introduces yourself, explains innovation of your product etc.

Step 3: Make the Sale

You’re now armed with information, presentation materials and a hot prospect list. How do you know you’re getting a good deal?  Present/sell developed product to other participants.

Preparation Not necessary.
Resources and equipment Paper.
Success factors This method might be appropriate if participants have been resistant to change when other approaches have been used or has little interest in participation.

The more effective we are in evaluating each other, the more each one of us will profit from the experience, whether we are delivering a speech, evaluating, or sitting in the audience.

Advantages This method promotes an active involvement in learning on the part of students and helps them to develop meaningful solutions to problems which in turn leads to greater student understanding of the subject matter.
Disadvantages Some students can face the evaluation of their product/story with nervousness and fear.
Additional information In this article by Monosoff

[ii] you will find a description of the smart steps needed to sell an idea.

These worksheets from the BBC support the activity of writing headlines and provides a scenario.

[i] Richards, R. (2017). Interactive Storytelling: How to Make Your Content Strategy Soar in 2017. https://www.snapapp.com/blog/interactive-storytelling-how-make-your-content-strategy-soar-2017-examples-and-stats/
[ii] Monosoff, T. 2006 Three Steps to Selling your Idea, Entrepreneur Europe, online article

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