Making our business storytelling more powerful
We humans are connected to stories throughout our lives. Stories are human and help us connect with one another, share experiences or learn from failures. Stories are relevant not just in personal, but also in corporate context as eventually we interact with people.
Thanks Talent Development team Tata Consultancy Services for a great interactive and experiential session on STaGE, Stories for Transformation and Growth Engagements. The learnings and the continuous refinement sessions during the training will surely help me to be better at story telling than what I was before.
If you are looking at making a difference through storytelling in your next presentation or connect in corporate context, here are top 3 tips from what I learnt.
Tell the whole story - It's very critical to inform the listener on the context of the story along with important details. The storyteller has lived the story and knows all about it, but the listener has not, so it’s important to cover Why, Who, When, What, Where and How aspects clearly.
While we cover the 5W and 1H, we must practice brevity. Long stories may drag, audience may lose interest or get lost in detail. My teenager kids believe anything longer than 45 seconds is long! But well, our business stories can span up-to 3 minutes. How to achieve brevity? Use the 3Cs technique – Cut, Cut and Cut!
We also need to ensure to sound enthusiastic, honest, and confident and look consistent with our story. Who wants to hear a boring, monotonous story told without voice modulation!
Make it relevant - We hear so many stories day in day out. Not everything sticks. We remember what is relevant to us or what we can relate to. So, making it relevant to the audience is key. Does our story strike a chord, solve a problem, or offer an opportunity to the listener?
I remember Aino Corry telling us how miserably her attempt to bring positive note to a very negative retrospective discussion failed while explaining the “Disillusioned Facilitator” antipattern. I could relate instantly remembering when my such attempts had failed. She subsequently assured us that, this happens, but one can still evolve from there.
Address the so-what - Ensure value addition, benefits, learnings from our story come out clearly. What would have happened if we had not done what we did? Or what benefits followed due to our solution. Wear a hat of the audience and evaluate if the story conveys the benefits or value that matters.
A Chief Marketing Office might look for improvement in brand value, a Chief Information Officer might look for optimization, while a Product director might look for business outcomes of a product.
To sum it up, A wholesome story that’s relevant and addresses the so-what of the audience would make wonders in your next corporate connect!
Here are some great stories that you may want to look at and learn from!
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Image credit - Work illustrations by Storyset