Are you a storyteller? Do you love stories?
Are you curious to learn more about how to tell stories and the benefit of telling good stories in business as well as in your private life? For many years, I call the corporate world my home. I have, probably, heard thousands of stories.
However, it has never been easy for me to explore why some stories resonate and some don’t. That’s why I took the opportunity to improve my skills over the holidays. In this article, I’d like to share with you some of my key findings.
Here are the top things to know about the Power of Storytelling in Business:
- What is storytelling?
- Why storytelling?
- Steps to create a good story
- How can you add power to your story?
- Becoming a good storyteller
1. What is storytelling?
Storytelling is the activity of sharing stories within a social or cultural setting. Usually, the stories serve as entertainment or education. However, they can also support cultural preservation and introduce moral values. Therefore, storytelling, often, includes theatrics and establishment.
The technique of storytelling, usually, refers to the oral telling of stories. But, sometimes, storytelling is also used in other media.
2. Why Storytelling?
By now you know, what storytelling is. But why do people use it? And how can you benefit from being a good storyteller in business and in your private life?
Why do People Tell Stories?
Did you ever want to talk with your colleagues about your boss? If so, you, likely, told a story to talk about your manager’s actions or behavior. This is a socially acceptable way to talk about your leader. Instead of using descriptive words, you told a story to inform your colleagues about your manager’s characteristics and behavior.
Besides this, storytelling is a good way of passing on knowledge and values.
Storytelling in Business
Being a good storyteller is especially helpful when you are in a leadership position. Storytelling can be a very powerful management tool. However, hardly any leader makes use of it.
By using stories, you can explain to your employees how they can effectively execute difficult tasks. Besides this, stories can help you to implement a corporate culture, role models, and certain values.
But how can storytelling help you to become a better leader? That’s easy: by telling stories you can easily catch your employees’ attention and persuade them to act in a certain way. Good stories will be remembered for a long time and will motivate your employees.
3. Steps to Create a Good Story
Storytelling isn’t easy. Creating a good story needs some practice. Here are the steps to tell a good story:
The Setting and the Main Characters
First of all, you have to create the setting for your story. When and where does it take place? Who’s the protagonist? This is essential in order to introduce your audience to your anecdote.
Every story should contain a problem or an opportunity the protagonist faces. This problem or opportunity will cause your main character to take action. The bigger the challenge, the more compelling your story will be.
The Protagonist’s Emotions
After creating the setting and introducing the challenge your protagonist faces, you have to explain why it’s so important for your main character to overcome this challenge. Why is he or she emotionally moved by the problem or opportunity?
Now, your protagonist will take action in order to solve the problem or to take the opportunity. At this point, you should include some obstacles for the protagonist. The harder it is for your main character to address the problem or opportunity, the more interesting your story will be. How much effort has he or she put into his action to reach the goal? This part is vital to create a good and compelling story.
What will happen? Will your protagonist be successful? Does your story have a happy ending? Of course, it is also possible to end your story with a mixed outcome.
The Conclusion of Story
To conclude your story with a worthy ending, you should reveal how the protagonist feels about the outcome. What do his or her emotions look like? Is the main character satisfied?
4. How Can You Add Power to Your Story?
Using the steps I just explained is vital to create a good story. However, there are certain aspects you can pay special attention to in order to make your story even more compelling.
What’s at risk?
When explaining the setting of your story, it’s important that you make the potential outcomes clear. What’s at risk in your story? What does your protagonist has to lose? The bigger the risk, the more compelling your story will be.
Besides this, if your main character is acting under time pressure, you will raise the tension. Is there a deadline the protagonist faces? If so, your audience will be more interested.
Keep it Simple, Structured, and Descriptive!
When telling your story, try to include just the necessary details. Don’t sidetrack from the main plot by giving unrelated information. Only include details that are crucial to explaining the setting and your main character. Anything unrelated will just distract your audience and will cause them to lose focus.
Furthermore, only reveal information when it’s necessary. Don’t give all information at the beginning of your story. Slowly introduce your audience to more details just before the information is needed.
Try to include visual descriptions in your story. The better your audience can imagine what’s happening, the more interested they will be.
The Underlying Meaning
Every good story has an important, underlying meaning. In some stories, the meaning is clear and doesn’t need to be stated. However, if your story is business-related it’s necessary that the meaning is drawn out. Otherwise, you’ll risk that your audience misses the point of your story.
5. Becoming a Good Storyteller
By now, you know how to tell a good story. However, knowing what makes a good story and telling a good story is a big difference. Therefore, you should practice your story a couple of times before telling it.
The best way to practice is to tell your story to friends, family, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. By doing so, you will understand how you can improve your story.
The Ending Thoughts
Being a good storyteller is, especially, helpful when you’re holding a leadership position. Increase the motivation of your employees and implement certain behavior and values by using compelling stories.
Becoming a good storyteller is hard. However, with this guide your stories will be better than ever before in no time.