Imagine you need to introduce yourself to an individual or to a large group of people at a business event. Your goal is to connect with your audience, to make a good first impression and to be memorable.

Stories are probably the most powerful way to accomplish this. People like hearing stories and they tend to remember them. The right story can convince people to do business with you. Stories can be on a variety of topics.

If you have an inspirational story that motivated you to choose your specific profession, share it. Once the listener senses you are in business for all the right reasons, they will trust you. Most people describe what they do and how they do it. Very few people communicate why they do what they do.

Consider sharing a true story of how you made a huge difference in your clients’ lives. When the listener understands the value you deliver, they will be comfortable using your services and referring business to you.

Share a story about how you did the right thing when no one was looking. This demonstrates your ethics and establishes a level of trust with the listener. If they trust you, they will likely do business with you.

Think of the important services you offer your clients that your competitors do not. When the listener understands how much better you are, they will think of you first. Be careful not to disparage your competition. Speaking negatively about your competition does not create a great first impression.

Finally, one of the most powerful stories is the one about how you made a mistake. Describe what you did to make it right, and the solution you implemented to avoid making that mistake in the future. This demonstrates that you are humble, accountable and always looking to improve. A dash of humility combined with confidence makes a great first impression.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to, send an email to or call 505-3636.