Storytelling is the oldest form of communication known to man, yet it's surprisingly under utilized in the business world today. And when it is used, it is often done poorly. And maybe that shouldn't be too surprising. There's something about storytelling, a misconception, that people think that it's something you're born with, or you'll never be any good at. And that's just not the case. Storytelling can be learned and that's what I'm here to help you do.
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Storytelling is the oldest form of communication known to man, yet it's
surprisingly�under utilized in the business world today.�And when it is used, it is often
done poorly.�And maybe that shouldn't be too surprising.�There's something about
storytelling, a misconception,�that people think that it's something you're born with, or
you'll never be any good at.�And that's just not the case.�Storytelling can be learned and
that's what�I'm here to help you do.
There is a pattern to good business storytelling,�and that's what I intend to teach
you.�Specifically we'll start with:�
1. Why you should be telling stories;�
We'll move to when you should tell stories,�and when not to, but mostly we're going to
2. What's the structure of a well-told business story?�
How do you get emotional elements into it?�
And the element of surprise.�
3. And how do I make sure my story is real�and tangible and concrete?�
If you do those things, you'll be well on your way�to being a great business storyteller.
One of my favorite observations about storytelling comes from Harvard psychologist Howard
Gardner, who said that "Every great leader is a great storyteller."�And that's what we're going to
talk about,�is why you should be using more storytelling at work.
Five Reasons why storytelling is important:
First of all, storytelling is simple.�Anybody can do it.�You don't need an MBA,�you don't need an
engineering degree,�or a degree in journalism.Anybody can do it.�
Secondly, storytelling is timeless.It's always worked and it always will.�
Third, stories are demographic-proof.�Stories work with infants and children,�they work with
grown-ups, they work with new hires,�they work with CEOs. Nobody's immune to the power of
Fourth, stories are contagious.�You tell a great story, and it will travel on it's own.�Your policy
memo probably won't do that.
Fifth, stories make things easier to remember.�There's studies that have shown that factsare 20
times more likely to be remembered�when they're embedded in a story�than when they're just given
to people as a list.
Why Storytelling is Important?
What is the right time and
moment to tell a story?
1. If you want to set a vision�for the organization.�That's a great time for a
story.�After all, what is a vision�but a picture of the future�so compelling that
people want to follow it.�
2. �Secondly, if you have to make a recommendation�or a big sales pitch,�or
just give a presentation to your co-workers.�That's a great time to use stories.
3. If your job is to set�the culture and values of the organization,�or if you just
want to contribute to that,�stories are a great tool to do that.
4. Stories help with inspiration�and motivating an organization too.�This might
be the most obvious one.�You can imagine the CEO at the end of the year on
stage in front of the whole organization�giving a very charismatic speech.
5. The last one I'd share with you,�is helping people be more creative and
innovative.Now, you can't just tell people,�be more creative,�or you need to
think outside-the-box more.�The human brain just doesn't work that way.�But
through a great story, you can lead them there.
How should you structure
There are three essential parts on how you
should structure your story:
We'll talk about each of those, starting with
Why Emotions are the most
important part of storytelling?
People make decisions in an irrational, subconscious,
emotional way in the right half of their brain�and then
rationalize it and justify it later�in the left side of their brain.�
Okay.�So if you want to influence people's opinions and
behavior�and decisions, in other words leadership. You need
to influence them emotionally.�And only a story can do that.�
In fact one of the best definitions and shortest definitions�I've
ever heard of a storycame from novelist E.M. Forster�who
noted that a story is nothing more than a fact�plus an
How surprise plays a critical
role in storytelling?
Surprise plays a critical element in a scary movie or a book.�But can
it play a role in a business story?�
And the answer is yes, it can.�
In fact, it plays two roles.�At the beginning it does something
important, which is,�gets your audience's attention.�It gets them to
stop focusing on whatever they were doing,�and focus on you and
listen to your story.�But at the end of the story, it plays an even
more�important role, I believe, and that's this.�To get them to
remember your story and your�lesson for a long period of time.�
The reason is, because, human memories aren't�formed in our
heads like a digital camera takes�a picture, (snaps) immediately
after it happens.
Keeping your stories real
Great stories are real and tangible and concrete,�as opposed to
vague and general and abstract.�Let me give you an example�of the
difference between these two types of language.�
The best political speech,�at least one of the best political speeches
of our lifetime,�was John F Kennedy's 1961,�land a man on the moon
speech.�As part of that, he said these words.�"I believe that this
nation�"should commit itself to achieving the goal,�"before this
decade is out,"of landing a man on the moon�"and returning him
safely to the earth."�That speech galvanized an entire nation�around
this space race with Russia.
In fact, if you practice being real and concrete�in your language
and your stories,�you'll be much more transparent to your
organization�and they will appreciate you much more for it.
How should you lead with stories?
Every great leader is a great storyteller.�And now you've started your journey�to becoming that better leader�and better
storyteller.�And if you wanna take it to the next level,here are a few resources for you.�First of all, there have been a
number of books�published on the topic of business storytelling. Read those books to gather more tips and tricks on
Now, one of the questions you may�have for yourself now is,�"How do I know if I'm doing it right?�"How do I know if I'm
becoming�"that good storyteller?"�Well, two ways you'll know.�One is you'll find yourself being a more effective
leader.�But the second way you'll know is�you will have developed a passion for storytelling.
In fact, poet Maya Angelou once observed,�"That there is no agony�"like bearing an untold story inside of you."�So in the
future when a compelling story strikes you,�instead of just enjoying it and letting it pass�from your memory,�you'll have
this uncontrollable urge�to share it with somebody.
The agony will strike you.�And you'll know from that moment on�that when you lead,�you'll be leading with great
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