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  • Timothy Echeandia

Story Time

I'd like to share a story with you all. A buddy of mine, let's call him Jeff, frequently gets called up to present on security and social engineering. He's given this presentation at least a thousand times by now, and usually has his personal assistant, Bob, with him. You've probably heard this story before. I've changed the details to better connect with you, my reader. An emotional connection can help you "fix the customer" which, in turn, facilitates fixing their problem. A well-told story can establish that connection. Lots of the security people I know, especially those on the more technical side of the fence, tend to overlook its value. Jeff had a week last summer when his schedule was completely slammed and he was just running on fumes. Bob proposed that, since he's seen the presentation so many times, he could do it in Jeff's place and take some of the load off the boss. A good story doesn't need to be relevant to your primary message, it just needs to be entertaining. People remember their feelings about an interaction long after the details have faded. Leaving a good impression today will help you get buy-in tomorrow. The most difficult part of most security programs is effectively communicating risk and modifying human behavior. Back to our story, Bob gave the presentation in Jeff's place and delivered it perfectly while Jeff sat at the back of the room. During the Q&A portion, one of the audience members asked an extremely technical question about a new network vulnerability. Without missing a beat, Bob said, "That's such an easy one, my assistant sitting in the back will answer it for you."

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