Everyone has a story, and since we are hardwired to accept stories, storytelling can engage listeners in such a dynamic way that no other communication model can match. Being a lifelong student, and knowing that good storytelling can make it easier for your target audience to visualize and quickly understand the entire scope of what your brand is about; I recently attended a storytelling workshop to learn more about how this powerful interaction between teller and listener can be best achieved. I’d like to share some storytelling examples and ideas from Robert Smith, Founder of Narrative Advantage:
Let’s start with the simple idea that a story is just a description of human action when faced with a problem, which opens a plethora of possibilities.
– Your business description should include stories about how you plan to solve your customers’ problems. For example you might say “Imagine that you have a tool that will make every communication more effective.”– and then paint your picture of eventualities. Every person you talk to would respond with heightened understanding and be persuaded to your way of thinking. That little bit of a story acts as a trigger in your listeners mind to allow them to build their own story about possibilities if they had that tool.
– In sales, the same effect is triggered when you tell of some ways you product or service helped someone solve their problem. Your customer is immediately building his own scenario about what your product or service can do for him.
– Cultural expectations and norms can be illustrated by hero stories. Telling about a person’s experience with certain problems and whether they met with success or failure can let your associates know what kind of action is expected of them.
– Future stories about how you expect to deal with the problems as your business grows and changes can inspire loyalty and enthusiasm for current projects.
– Training sessions can be enhanced with stories about how people developed a process or working methods. Even stories of what happens when procedures aren’t followed can serve as a good warning without being critical of an individual.
Bottom line: With this heightened attentiveness and richness of interaction, you are not being as effective a communicator as you can be, if you are not using stories in your business communications.