How storytelling can motivate a business

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Storytelling is a key weapon in your persuasive armory which has numerous uses in the business world, especially for management and leaders. Whether you are trying to convince a doctor to register with us, explain to a new employee how to boost performance, or inspire your team to overcome the next big challenge, being able to weave a compelling story has its benefits. In this age of information-saturation, rational facts and figures simply don’t stay in our minds, however stories create the opposite effect, making ‘sticky’ memories by attaching emotions to events. They are a great tool for getting your audience to remember and think about what you want to say. Jonah Sachs, CEO of Free Range Studios explains it perfectly when he says “Stories are the originally viral tool. You’re going to see returns that last for months and maybe even years.”

Here is my advice on how you can use storytelling in the business world…

1) Find your message – Firstly, identify who is your audience and what is the message you want to share with them. By working out what your ultimate message is, then you can tailor your story to deliver it succinctly.

2) Use first hand experiences – You may not want to share personal events with your work colleagues, but situations that revolve around struggle, failure and challenges are what makes good leaders appear authentic, accessible and genuine. Using examples from your own past also acts as an emotional entry point to your story, drawing people in.

3) You aren’t the star of the show – The focus of your story should be lessons you have learnt, events you have witnessed and people you have engaged with, not the chance to showcase your wealth and success. To connect even further with your audience, make them the hero of your story, demonstrating that your employees can pull together to achieve their goals.

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4) Add challenge – Every story needs conflict, and that is the same for a business related tale too, whether you refer to a competitor, or a team challenge. Also, don’t be afraid to mention that the path ahead will be difficult and involve hard work – instead use this to rally the troops so to speak, to motivate them to reach the gold at the end of the rainbow.

5) Keep things simple – Don’t dress your story up in details that detract from your main message, but instead, keep it simple and straightforward. The odd embellishment that enhances your story, for example how you felt, facial expressions or the humble beginnings of a now successful company, can however help drive home your message, so just be thoughtful when considering what descriptive factors to include.

6) Practice delivery – As the age old saying goes, practice makes perfect, and the same is true of storytelling.  It can take a bit of time and effort to get your delivery spot on, and make sure that you are conveying your message in the best way possible. Just remember that the time you spend is all worthwhile in the long run.

Key points to remember:

  • It’s all about targeting your audience, so chose a framework and details that will really resonate with them
  • Clearly understand and identify your message you want to share
  • Find inspiration in your own life stories
  • We can all tell memorable stories, so don’t assume that yours won’t be interesting
  • There’s no need to big yourself up – you are meant to be motivating and inspiring, not showing off
  • Focus on your message so don’t drown it in insignificant details

 

[testimonial name=”By Grant Finn” who=”CEO of Total Assist Group” imagelinks=”http://totalassist.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Grant125.jpg” vertical=”no”]”I have worked tirelessly at Total Assist Group for over 10 years now. I have overall responsibility for executing the continuous growth strategy of the company.”[/testimonial]