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Storytelling in Business – Why Not? Part 2

The power of storytelling in business

Storytelling is again a topic of interest in the business communications world.  Conferences and speakers around the world are praising the power of storytelling and attracting audiences. My question is, why? Humans have told stories since our earliest beginnings. We all tell stories.

“Storytelling comes naturally to humans, but since we live in an unnatural world, we sometimes need a little help doing what we’d naturally do.” ― Dan Harmon

It was part of our survival and development. Stories are all around us, from campfires to multimillion dollar movies, so why do we have to make a case for it in a business environment?

This second part of a two-part blog post (part 1) covers the two remaining things we learned when preparing a seminar about storytelling in business. This seminar gives participants the skills and determination to tell more stories and better stories in the workplace.

Courage to connect

Lesson 4

If work for you is simply an exchange of power, storytelling and other enhanced communication tools are not important.  Others will translate what you say into orders if you are in a power position just as you may interpret orders from your superiors.
If you want your workplace to be a place where people build something together instead of following the orders of the few, storytelling is an active strategy to humanize the workplace for you and your co-workers. It provides opportunities for meaningful connections that inspire trust.

From stories to action

Lesson 5

A good story can set the stage in a business environment and yet we often need to make the purpose clear once it is complete.  We can achieve that socratically through a debriefing method or by simply telling the listeners what we had in mind directly.

Why this works

A clear explanation of the purpose of the story provides a natural, logical connection to the observation of what the teller and the listeners need to accomplish in a business environment. Getting things done on an individual level is a function of:

  • understanding clearly what to do
  • having the ability to do it
  • being motivated to get it done

Address the why

Stories can clearly address the “why” of an action leading to an increase in commitment to doing it. When listeners can connect the story to their current situation, they become involved in the process of identifying what to do and why it needs to be done—without having to be told.

More

See how Target Training provides skill development seminars about Storytelling in business and many other communication skills to increase your effectiveness in the workplace. Let us know if you have anything to add in the comments box below.

 

2 replies
  1. Jennie Wright
    Jennie Wright says:

    Great part 2 James. I think the most important part of this is the “why” (as you said above). Many want to tell a story but forget to give it a reason. A story may make the audience listen and be engaged, but the message needs to be clear.

    For language learners this can be very challenging, but with simple rhetorical questions, it can be made easier.

    Here are a few to make sure the reason for your story (and its conclusion) is clear:

    1. And why did the people do this? To stir the company to action!

    2. How did they overcome the issues? By working together as a team!

    3. What was the reason for this? To ensure the customer was satisfied!

    So, what is my point here? Tell a good story with “why”!

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