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Story Time

Story telling isn't just for bedtime. It's vital to enticing investors, encouraging employees and convincing customers.

Although Peter Guber has been a storyteller by trade for the past 40 years, he believes it's a skill everyone possesses--and one that entrepreneurs must tap. "[A business owner] is always trying to motivate, collaborate and get others to do something," says Guber, chair and CEO of Manda-lay Entertainment and a professor at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. "Every person who asks others to do something is, in fact, a storyteller and has to render an experience to the listener." Investors may be more likely to fund a company with an inspiring story. Customers may be more compelled to buy from an entrepreneur they can relate to.

Guber, who was executive producer on popular films including The Color Purple and Rain Man, says key elements to good storytelling include a clear intention, an engaged audience and unconditional conviction and passion. "If you have those things, you have a tremendously powerful resource," he says. "It makes you connected to [others], and they become viral advocates of your mission."

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This article was originally published in the July 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Story Time .

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