Until recently we have only been able to speculate about story’s persuasive effects, but over the last several decades, psychology has begun a serious study of how story affects the human mind. Researches repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by stories. People are actually moved by emotion and the best way to emotionally connect people to our agenda begins with the good old “Once upon a time…

 

Understanding the Dynamics of Business Storytelling

Storytelling has existed since the beginning of time to share knowledge, human history and ideology. They contain facts, but that is not the only essence which makes stories work. To gamely employ storytelling as an effective business communication tool, corporate leaders and business managers ought to identify and understand the key factors that influence how business stories are told, heard and interpreted. The rule for good storytelling is that leaders should take their time, listen in, and understand the complexity of a situation as the first step for creating their stories. 

The effectiveness of business storytelling depends on the extent to which different organisational groups know and trust each other, the extent to which the corporate story is translated into more operational and personal ones and also the extent to which it is lived.

 

Intentions of storytellers have to be filtered through motivation or feelings of audience, which then affect their response. The storyteller needs to recognise the nature of selective hearing and consider that in deciding what is said and how it is said while the structure we choose helps ties the pieces of our story together seamlessly.

 

Mastering the Art of Business Storytelling

Great stories do not stall, sputter or leave the audience wondering what happened. The sequence of events should make sense and assist with the development and movement of the story. One story can be more powerful than another simply because it resonates more deeply with someone.

The key is to identify which story your listener or reader is going to identify with the most. Good stories do not just happen as audience really connects when the plot, characters and other elements fade together to create a unified narrative. Choosing the right story requires a holistic understanding of the intended message and it is equally crucial to possess the know-how to tell the right story at the right time.

Leadership Development: The Storyteller

Today, many successful companies use storytelling as a leadership tool. At Nike, all senior executives are designated "corporate storytellers". 3M banned bullet points years ago and replaced them with a process of writing "strategic narratives". Procter & Gamble (P & G) hired Hollywood directors to teach its executives storytelling techniques.

Business Storytelling is the hook that drives engagement, evokes passion, and provides the energy that fuels innovation. Designed for a wide variety of business challenges, storytelling facilitates corporate leadership development in: define culture and values; engender creativity and innovation; foster collaboration and build relationships; provide coaching and feedback; lead change; and more. Storytelling is an attraction magnet – it is one thing you definitely want to add to your leadership toolkit.

Transforming Organisations through Business Story-telling

In modern business practice, storytelling is also receiving attention as a powerful management tool to achieve organisational transformation especially in the facilitating of knowledge sharing, guide problem solving and decision making and generate commitment to change.

Many of the changes that are being considered by large organisations as they struggle to cope with paradigm shifts in the business environment appear initially to be complex, difficult, disruptive, strange and counter-intuitive. The new cultures that accompany major changes often involve concepts, attitudes, and skills that are not understood in the first place, nor accepted if understood.

Storytelling can facilitate large numbers of managers and employees in understanding complex and difficult changes. Stories enable a leap in comprehension so that the audience intuitively grasps what the change involves, why it might be desirable as well as pointing to how an organisation or community might change.

These days, when you harness the power of storytelling, this can certainly give you a competitive edge in your business. Once leaders harness the transformational strength of language to motivate and inspire, they will doubtless conclude that organisational storytelling makes sense.


Article by Daniel Teu, Senior Consultant at Training Edge International. Daniel has more than 10 years of experience in training and 16 years of corporate experience. Contact him at daniel.teu@trainingedgeasia.com or visit www.trainingedgeasia.com.