Telling Stories: How to Launch and Overcome Resistance

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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In this week’s book club discussion of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki, we learn about How to Launch and How to Overcome Resistance. If you are like me and you think that launch is something the space shuttle does, there’s a wee bit more to it than that.

Guy Kawasaki gives us several tips to help with a successful launch. But it is his very first pointer that enchants me. Perhaps this is because it’s what we do here at The High Calling.

Tell a Story

If you went through our Made to Stick book club, this may sound familiar. The Heath brothers make a powerful case for using story to promote an idea. Guy Kawasaki agrees.

…Enchanting launches are more than press releases, data dumps, one-sided assertions, and boring sales pitches. They captivate people’s interest and imagination by telling a compelling story.

Guy cites Lois Kelly, author of Beyond Buzz, to give us four types of stories that do your cause justice:

  • Great aspirations. These are stories about how the hero who makes the world a better place by creating an amazing product.
  • David versus Goliath. Stories about the underdog succeeding.
  • Profiles in courage. The hero overcomes great hardship to persevere and accomplish great things.
  • Personal stories. These stories feature personal experiences that illustrate a product’s enchanting qualities.

If you craft a pitch that capitalizes on any of these themes, your launch is much more likely to enchant. In fact, most of the other tips that Guy gives to improve your launch have qualities of telling a great story.


Immersing people in your cause is one step up from telling a story. Immersion uses sensory experiences to enable people to suspend disbelief and skepticism—pulling them into the story of your cause. Using vicarious experiences and making a great demo are examples of immersion.

Promote Trial

Trial is a hands-on opportunity to experience your product or idea. This invites people into the story of your cause. There are some things you should remember when promoting trial. For example, the trial should be easy—not requiring any special training or expertise. The trial should be immediate—the person should be able to proceed immediately with trying out the product (without filling our timely paperwork or signing in with a long password procedure). The trial should be inexpensive—the only of trying your cause should be time.

Prime the Pump

Priming the pump involves using related knowledge to encourage people to choose your product. For example, one study found that playing German music while customers shopped for wine increased the sales of German wine. Playing French music increased sales of French wine. Paying attention to environmental factors may give your product an enchanting edge.

Guy also discusses the benefits of planting many seeds, asking people their intent, reducing or increasing the number of choices, saliency, the “foot in the door” principle, and getting your first follower.

Overcoming Resistance

Chapter six talks about overcoming resistance to your enchanting idea/product/self. Guy reminds us at the outset of this discussion that enchantment is a process, not an event, and “instant success” is an oxymoron.

The first step in overcoming resistance is to understand why people are reluctant to support your cause. Guy lists several reasons:

  • Inertia
  • Hesitation to reduce options
  • Fear of making a mistake
  • Lack of role models
  • Your cause sucks!

Resistance to change is the norm, not the exception, says Guy. But he also says none of these factors is insurmountable unless your cause truly and permanently sucks.

Guys Tips for Overcoming Resistance

Guy gives several tips for overcoming resistance. We’ll discuss just a few here.

  • Provide Social Proof

Social proof is the concept that if other people are doing something, then it must be OK, right, cool, and maybe even optimal.

If you can convince people that everyone else is excited about your idea, more people will be willing to try it.

  • Create the Perception of Ubiquity

Ubiquity is the perception that a product is everywhere (think about the white ear buds we associate with iPods—suddenly, everyone has wires coming out of their ears). Familiarity breeds commitment, Guy says, not contempt.

  • Create the Perception of Scarcity

It’s that old rule of supply and demand. If people think something is scarce, they automatically think it has more value.

  • Show People Your Magic

If there is a way to show people how your product is made—how your magic works—Guy says they develop an interest in what you do, and they are more likely to buy your products, support your idea, or join your cause (think factory or winery tours). Hey, this sounds like sharing your story to me.

Other ways to overcome resistance include: find one example, find a way to agree, find a bright spot, assigning a label, use data to change a mind-set, incur a debt ( I love this one), enchant all the influencers, frame thy competition, control the haptic sensations, and remember an inspiring story.

Whew! There was a lot of information in these two chapters, but I can’t help going back to that very first point. If you have a great story, you are more likely to have an enchanting launch and overcome resistance all at once.

How about you? Share your thoughts on these chapters with us in the comment section or link up below to your thoughts at your blog.

This is the third week of our book club discussion on Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hears, Minds, and Actions. Join us next week for a discussion on chapters seven and eight: How to Make Enchantment Endure and How to Use Push Technology. See you there!

Image sourced by Microsoft Clip Art Online , post by Laura J. Boggess, author of The Wings of Klaio Series.


How to Change the World: A Book Club Introduction

Achieving Likability: Crows Feet and the Perfect Handshake (week one)

Don't Menschion It: How Trust Enchants (week two)