Adopting a narrative strategy will help you succeed in business storytelling. Different stories have different purposes and lead to different actions, so a one-size-fits-all approach to storytelling will not set you and your brand apart.
You know the importance of storytelling in business, and maybe you have created a story that encompasses parts of your business journey and values. That’s a great start, but there is more to do in order to stand out as a leader who is successful in business storytelling.
You may think that you don’t have stories that are appropriate for sharing at work, or that others would not be interested in what you have to say. When you discover how storytelling works and what makes a good story for a leader to share, you will never be stuck for material again.
In addition to the essential soft skills that every leader needs today, the ability to tell the right story, at the right time and with the right audience, is also vital. It may come naturally to some, but if you are yet to find out how storytelling fits into your communication style, you’ll be pleased to know that it is a skill that you can learn quickly. The ability to engage, influence, inspire action and get noticed as a stand-out communicator, rests on your ability to balance data with emotion, and one of the most effective ways of doing this is through the power of storytelling.
According to Stephen Denning, storytelling is more than an essential set of tools to get things done: it’s a way for leaders to embody the change they seek. Leaders establish credibility and authenticity through telling the stories that they are living. When they believe deeply in them, their stories resonate, generating creativity, interaction and transformation.
The pitfalls of storytelling
There’s more to telling a story than having compelling content. Telling a good story relies heavily on how you tell that story. As a speaker coach, I often hear stories read out loud from notes, memorised and delivered in a robotic monotone or from a static standing point behind a lectern. Words matter, but your message won’t land the way you hoped for if your delivery fails to connect with your audience.
Some storytelling pitfalls to avoid:
- Rinsing and repeating the same story over and over
- Choosing the wrong story for the occasion or audience
- Reading your story word for word
- Telling a story that’s meant for reading (writing to speak is different from writing for a reader)
- Sharing an ego-centric story that is all about you
Creating a winning story every time
The good news is once you have a reusable storytelling formula, you can then create many different stories, meaning that you will have access to a suite of stories that both you and others in the organisation can share. When you use a practical story formula you can tweak, revise and revitalise your material stays relevant.
Would like to book a complimentary session? I will share with you my five step storytelling framework so that you can get started on your story strategy.
Storytelling on purpose
Before you start creating a narrative strategy for yourself and your organisation, there are ten questions to ask yourself and your team.
10 Questions to ask before you begin your business storytelling journey
- Why tell stories?
- What is the ultimate purpose?
- What type of stories do we want to share?
- How will we know the story is having an impact?
- How many stories do we need?
- Who will we share our stories with?
- What medium will we use?
- Who is the best person in the organisation to share a particular story?
- Who else in the organisation may share these stories? Perhaps customers, leaders of all levels, sales team?
- How do we continue harvesting stories that are relatable, relevant and repeatable?
The suite of business stories every savvy leader can apply
There are different types of stories that make up an overall narrative strategy. Here are the six indispensable stories that sit well in any leaders communication toolkit.
- The Core Story
- The Founding Story
- The Client Journey
- The Aspiration Story
- The Values Story
- The Change Story
Each story will serve a slightly different purpose and have a different narrative strategy. If it seems overwhelming, then the best place to start is with the Core Story also known as your signature story. This essential story includes the essence of you and helps others to connect on a slightly more personal level.
Why not get the whole team sharing stories?
When your suite of stories are fleshed out, there are multiple applications of storytelling in your leadership journey.
If you would like to host a facilitated business storytelling session for your leadership team then let’s chat.
Here’s how I may help you
I am one of Australia’s leading executive speaker coaches, and my specialty is helping leaders to make an impact through the power of business storytelling.
To decide on the next step to level up your speaking and storytelling, let’s start with a brief chat.
My services include:
Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.
Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.
Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.
Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.