Stories are changing the way we think, act, and feel and can capture our imaginations, illustrate our ideas, arouse our passions, and inspire us. If a story is well told it can create an intense, personal connection between the audience, the idea and the teller. Think just how you have been listening to them as a child.
What exactly is a good storytelling - the art of using communication: verbal, tone and also gesture to tell components and metaphors of a story to an audience? Throughout human history stories were the actual building blocks of knowledge and by teaching them we learned to anticipate the possible consequences. Stories formed the foundation for memorizing events, persons or other data and to learn about them. That is why we could say that stories connect us with past, present, and future...
Could this tool be used in a business environment to form the foundations of a different workplace culture where hard facts failed to? Could this tool communicate and connect employees, customers, partners, suppliers, colleagues, and more?
If yes, why is not used more often in business environment? Is it because in the companies there are no stories to tell? Not so, as I am sure that mostly any company is full of stories about employees, successes, failures, innovations and also unexpected events with their outcomes. One needs just listen to the stories employees talks about on corridors.
It shouldn't be overlooked that lots of researches came out with the fact that people remember things in story form much better than from a list of bullet points. Obviously, storytelling is useful in far more situations than most companies and leaders realize.
It doesn't come as a surprise that some big and successful companies already use training courses for their leaders and management teams to teach them “a storytelling way”. Those companies even differentiate corporate storytelling, presentation (no bullets but rather interesting narratives) giving as well as how to lead better with storytelling.
There are different types of stories and storytelling. The ‘who-I-am’ stories build trust, vision stories inspire employees and encourage them to follow goals, values-in-action stories reinforce the values of a company when some hard time hits from the market come.
How should I approach to storytelling? Well, you should start with the context and try to keep it short and simple. Find a creative, original angle and use metaphors and analogies. Link the story to current events and appeal to emotions. Use a narrative style with clear message which idea or value you really want to emphasize. You may include a surprise, but you should definitively ‘live your story’.
I’d like to emphasize that I’m not suggesting storytelling should be used in every situation. But, leaders at all levels need better ways to influence, to build engagement and to inspire. Why not also with storytelling if it proves to be effective?
Remember that with storytelling it is all about them (the audience) and not about you. The powerful stories captivate both, the minds and the hearts of the people listening to the story.