EPISODE 7, STORYTELLER - polish your storytelling skills to make a more significant impact
Well, let’s begin.
Once upon a time, someone like you wanted to be a success at work. They listened to podcasts, read books on being successful, and watched famous people for tips on hitting the big time.
When they started work, though, it all turned out to be different Nobody told them the rules for being a success. Other than working hard and being persistent.
So that’s what they did. I don’t dare tell you how long they went at it, but eventually, they realised that something was missing.
Then one day, they heard a podcast on storytelling.
It got right to the point. It explained that for millennia people have been using stories to influence and persuade and be a success in whatever they wanted.
So, with a bit of help, this person in search of success began taking a close interest in the basics of storytelling.
They avoided one of the worst mistakes that storytellers make, which is saying to themselves: “I’m not good at storytelling, so I’ll just stick to the facts.”
They also escaped the other big trap that storytellers fall into. That’s convincing themselves that they were already a brilliant storyteller, so: “There’s no need to prepare or practice my story; I’ll just wing it.”
They were impressed with the famous saying: “The one who tells the story rules the world.” But since they didn’t aspire to rule the world, they came to the more sensible conclusion that storytelling could at least contribute to their long-term success.
What this person realised is that we’re hard-wired for stories. Good stories told well can affect decision making, remove blocks to reaching goals and even help win a pay rise.
So how did this person make storytelling part of their armoury for building success at work?
Developing a meaningful story did not prove all that complicated. They realised that to be a compelling storyteller at work means investing an effort to make the story land well. They learned to begin by asking themselves:
Who is my story for? And what is their current situation?
What do I want them to do because of listening to me?
And just as critical: “What action do I want them to take and why?
But most of all, this person searching to learn the basics of storytelling realised the power of asking:
“If I want them to do what I wish to--what will they need to think or feel?
Thinking and feeling are so often ignored when wanting to affect other people.
For example, if you’re in a highly scientific field or tech work, you may believe that what counts is presenting hard facts.
Indeed, these are what convince, right?
Facts are essential. But how people respond to what you want depends on how they think and feel about what you’re seeking.
Now it so happened that this person I’ve been telling you about also wanted a pay rise. Sadly, there weren’t many of those around at the time.
Most pay seemed either frozen or, in some cases moving in the wrong direction, downwards.
Yet this person had a real story to share. Not just a litany of facts about how great they were or how hard they’d been working.
In recent months they’d suggested several good ideas at work that people had adopted. One had even caught the eye of their boss, and they’d been congratulated publicly about it.
As this person applied storytelling basics to win a pay rise, they realised that good storytelling is less about what happened and more about the “why”?
They needed to go beyond demanding a pay rise. Instead, they needed to enlighten or inspire their boss to agree with them.
So, this person searching for a pay rise compiled a compelling story. This was about how they had come up with the various ideas that had landed well. They also explained in an amusing way how these arose.
Quite simply, with a bit of thought, they turned the request for more pay into a human drama.
Their story was about bringing to the surface new ideas. It was one with which their boss could connect at a purely human level.
He yearned for more ideas and appreciated them. So, the story became about how to provide them and why a pay rise was needed to make that happen.
Guess what? It worked!
This person I’ve been telling you about won their pay rise.
Just as important, they came to see the power of storytelling as an essential route to succeeding at work.
They lived happily ever after, having found storytelling’s sheer power and joy.
Did you like my story?
Have you stuck with me to the end? If you’re still here, then you already know that storytelling works!
Would you have listened to the end if I’d droned on with facts about why storytelling is so important? What’s your guess?
So, stories engage people profoundly. They’re more personal than just facts. But they need to be thought through to achieve the right impact.
Here then are three action points for you to consider:
Think about what your story is meant to achieve and its impact
Be willing to prepare for your delivery, rather than improvise
Let people see that you relish the telling and want to influence their thinking or action
Storytelling is a powerful way to get your message across to work colleagues in a targeted manner.
Today’s episode is from the theme: COMMUNICATING FOR SUCCESS.
Next Monday’s episode is Joker—using your brilliant sense of humour.