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Storytelling

30 January 2017

You might think storytelling is just for kids, however, it is also an incredibly effective tool to use in business. Think of the successful brands and companies which inspire you, or great talks you have heard – it is likely that their successes were down to good storytelling, to help build a brand or convey a message. Storytelling can help to inspire people, to persuade them, and ultimately to get clients and customers to invest in your business.

As a leader, developing a strong narrative can help define a clear vision and help others relate to you, making them more likely to follow your lead. This becomes particularly useful during change or difficult periods, as a consistent narrative helps to define the situation and end goal.

Storytelling skills work well on smaller scales too – if you have internal presentations for example, or even when trying to sell an idea to your colleagues, these skills make us better communicators. They have also been linked to leadership – suggesting that storytelling could be used as a tool to help lead your team better. This begins to make sense when you consider that the best stories, like the best leaders, inspire people. 

The idea of storytelling can seem odd in a business environment, however there is no doubt that the skills associated with it are key to improving workplace communication. Get started with storytelling and improve your communication skills using the following techniques:

  • Using anecdotes - this is often a good way to get people to relate to you on a personal level and can illustrate what you mean in practice.
  • Metaphors - this is storytelling embedded in language. Do you think you'll only use these techniques when pigs fly? Think again
  • Structure - If you have an argument or presentation, structure it like a story with a clear beginning middle and end, you could even give it a plot to make it more compelling.
  • Analogy – If you have complicated jargon filled processes to explain, do it using something people understand. Take examples from machines, nature, society – whatever works. 

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