Storytelling is a powerful tool, but can it be effective in corporate settings? Corporate storytelling can enhance leadership communication, increase engagement, and inspire teams. With the right strategy and approach, storytelling can be an excellent way to communicate key ideas that spark action. Storytelling can make a difference when there is a need for change, innovation, or new ideas.

There are many benefits of incorporating storytelling into your presentations within the workplace, but I often meet leaders who express their concerns about telling a story as part of their presentation. These concerns may prevent leaders from enhancing their communication skills with the power of storytelling.

These are some of the common barriers that I hear from people who are yet to embrace the power of corporate storytelling.

I'm a technical expert

I’m a technical expert

I’m a technical expert and I don’t need to use stories because my presentations explain the facts. We’re not storytellers in my team, we are data-driven presenters and don’t need to do anything else. This is a comment I overheard a technical leader say to their colleague before the start of the session. I wasn’t alarmed by the comment, as storytelling is a practical skill that we need to learn by doing, and with the right environment and facilitation I am able to demonstrate the shared benefits of storytelling for leaders.

When this objection is raised directly with me, my answer is simple: you are a technical expert and a human being. Our brains process information differently, so people will not experience a message in the same way. We can use the rational brain to analyse facts and data, or the emotional brain to add sense and meaning to what we hear, see and feel.

We are all emotional beings, and the emotional brain connects people. An effective and successful leader is one who can forge connections.

I'm not creative enough

I’m not creative enough and can’t think of good story ideas. I often hear similar comments when I meet people who are hesitant about sharing a story. There is no shortage of storytelling material from our day to day lives. This comment can stem from feeling like you don’t have anything of significant interest to others to share, or you are not sure where to find stories or how to put a story together.

The ideal stories to tell in the corporate setting are those stories unique to you, and a story that demonstrates a change in thinking, actions and behavior. If you tell a story about your own experience, it sets you apart from everyone else. That’s why sharing a story can be powerful and memorable because no one else has that same experience, and if they share a similar experience, they will tell it differently.

Your stories don’t have to be of dragon-slaying proportions. But they do need to be authentic and shared from a place of warmth and vulnerability.

If I open up, others may judge me

If I tell a story at work and share my feelings and struggles, my colleagues may see me as weak or needy. I might be seen as someone not coping with the work environment, making me feel exposed. I don’t want to share personal stuff at work. I have heard many variations of these concerns from people who are unfamiliar with storytelling in the corporate setting.

For some people when they hear the term personal storytelling, they think that means sharing deep stuff. There is no need to get real deep and personal, we don’t want to over-share as that feels uncomfortable for ourselves as well as others, but we must be human, open and natural. We need to share our stories, and we need to listen to each other’s stories if we want to be an authentic and people-centred leader.

One of the benefits in opening up by sharing a story about yourself as a leader is that you can show that you are human. It can build trust between the presenter and the audience, and trust is vital in leadership; if people don’t trust you, they will not follow you. Sharing stories is an effective way to build rapport and connection with others including your team, your customers and the community. This can help to get buy-in and support for your ideas.

Book a time to chat with me about hosting a Storytelling for Leaders workshop

I don't know where to start as I have so many stories

How do I start?

A good place to start is to consider who will be in the audience. Your stories should be relevant, meaningful and memorable to them. What is the story you want to tell? What are you trying to communicate? How do you want to make an impact on the audience? How will they respond? What action do you want them to take? Before you begin to search for a story, be clear on the objective of your presentation and how you would like it to land.

You may not be an expert initially, but everyone has a story to tell. Begin by crafting your signature story. A signature story highlights who you are, what you stand for and believe in (your values), and why it matters.

By taking notes in your Story Bank (more information about this later) you will gain a collection of ideas that you can use later.

I tend to ramble on when I share a story

Many leaders feel so comfortable behind a technical slide deck, or presenting using data, that they find it hard to be clear and concise when telling a story.

Practice! Practice telling your stories out loud. Practice saying them with energy and conviction. Practise until you can deliver them in two minutes or less. If your story is longer than a few minutes, then edit it by removing any non essential information.

There are different story frameworks and models that can be used, but for starters and to keep it simple, create a timeline with a beginning, middle and end.

Introduce the main character (this could be you, or maybe a customer), and identify the challenge facing the main character, As the story unravels you will uncover the turning point leading to the transformation. The end of the story contains the lesson, point or action that you want the audience to consider. If you want help story call

Others don't have time to listen to stories

They have work to do and they want the facts and the details. This is a common misconception. When you share a story, you give people a reason to care. More importantly, stories can help your team connect and create a sense of belonging. A high performing team feels part of something bigger than themselves.

When you begin with a story, you are inviting people to connect with you and to seek their buy in. When they care about your message they are more likely to believe in you. A good story that is well told, should not take up much of people’s time.

A poorly crafted story that has no plot, no point, or is delivered in a monotonous voice, will feel like it’s too long regardless. If you learn to tell your story well and you can practise sharing a story in a natural and engaging way, trust me, people will have time to listen.

How to get started with corporate storytelling

How do you get people to tell their stories? Provide the space. Suggest a corporate story share and invite a skilled storytelling coach and facilitator into your team to help you become masterful at storytelling

What are the benefits of hosting a corporate storytelling workshop facilitated by an experienced coach?

We will create a safe and encouraging space for people to share their stories. I have numerous prompts, tools and resources to help people unlock their storytelling potential. 

Where to find story material

Start a Story Bank. This is where you can jot down everyday experiences that may be used for storytelling material. A pen and notebook, index cards, or a digital method works well. The purpose is to gather your stories (I call them Story Sparks at this early stage), and you build a repertoire to draw on when you want to. Your stories don’t have to be of dragon-slaying proportions. But they do need to be authentic and come from a place of warmth and vulnerability.

Organise your stories in a way you can easily find—perhaps by theme, genre, or life stage. Use whatever works for you. Just make it easy and accessible to find. Be on the lookout for stories in your daily life. A fishing trip. A visit to the local hardware store. Deciding where to go on holiday, or an outstanding customer experience, are all ideas for story material. Once you have a Story Bank, it’s a matter of finding the right story that fits the point you want to make.

Once you have made some deposits, your story bank will become a source of inspiration; next time you want to illustrate a point, share a lesson or demonstrate strength or value, you can find a story to suit this purpose. And you will be more likely to find one that suits from your story bank than a random story from memory. Another tip that has worked well for me is to use keywords and hashtags so that my stories are easy to find within the note taking app that I use.

The only way to improve your storytelling skills is to practise telling stories. Rather than telling stories in a rigid format, tell them as they come to you. This will help you relax and be natural when you tell the story.

Being a story listener is the first step in becoming a master storyteller

Sharing our stories helps us understand each other better and builds bridges between us. The best work environments are those where people feel safe, listened to, supported and valued. Stories are a perfect medium for building connection and understanding.

The power of storytelling is not about being overly creative, emotional or vulnerable. It’s about using a story to engage an audience and get them to feel something. When people experience emotion when they hear a story, they are more likely to remember it. They are also more likely to change their behaviour or attitude. The best data is useless if it doesn’t reach your audience.

Ready to tell your business stories?

Corporate storytelling is a powerful tool for any business presentation. It brings life to the message and engages the audience, helping them remember the key points of the presentation. Working with a storytelling coach allows you to hone your skills and gain confidence in how to use stories in your presentations. Booking a bespoke Corporate Storytelling for Leaders workshop gives you the opportunity to tailor an approach that works best for you and helps you make a lasting impression on your audience


Book a time to chat with me about hosting a Storytelling for Leaders workshop

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, improvisational actor, and host of the Business Chat Podcast

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my e-book – How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.

Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker