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Storytelling as a Developmental Tool for Leaders

While the wait staff was clearing the dessert plates from the banquet tables, Joanne, the vice president of sales, took the podium and opened the annual meeting. Jeff Carlson, the CEO, was aware of the rising temperature beneath his collar. He wiped his sweat-drenched palms on the linen napkin and drank another sip of water to hydrate his cottonmouth lips.

Joanne greeted everyone with sincerity and wit. She elicited a few laughs with a short story about a Region Three delivery truck that had been impounded for illegal parking. Then came Jeff’s introduction.

He felt as if time stood still as he approached the podium. Except for the spotlight, which felt like a heat lamp beaming on Jeff’s face, the room was pitch black. He lowered his eyes to his notes, made a lighthearted remark about the truck’s driver, and then began his speech, his hands shaking almost uncontrollably.

Following that, when his mental acuity returned to normal, he inquired about his performance with his wife. He was truly perplexed. It was as if he wasn’t present at all during the speech, at least not in the manner of the confident and secure CEO he recognized himself to be.

What happened to his self-assuredness and authority?

When Jeff spoke in front of a group, he intuitively sensed that something was missing. After observing the guest speaker’s confidence and poise, he identified it as his power. He was an assured and powerful man in every other aspect of his life. However, when he took the podium in front of an audience, he lost touch with that power.

What happened to his self-assuredness and authority?

Is this something you’re familiar with? Do you exude the same confidence and authority when delivering a speech as you do when leading your company or department? If not, now is the time to develop a critical skill that will ensure your platform authority is maintained: corporate storytelling for a business audience.

The Solution in Business is Corporate Storytelling

Storytelling with data PDF is an extremely effective method of leadership. It connects you to your authentic strength, allowing you to motivate and inspire your audience. Prominent speakers have mastered the art of storytelling. They understand that through the power of storytelling, they can engage their audience and convey critical messages.

Storytelling is the ideal model of communication because it operates on multiple levels. Stories engage the non-linear right brain because they are inherently visual and stimulate the imagination; they engage the linear left brain because the story’s sequence is linear. Stories are both emotional and educational, bridging the divide between mind and heart. They are well-liked by auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners due to the fact that well-crafted stories can incorporate all three modes of learning. In a nutshell, stories serve as the lens through which audience members perceive their own reality.

Why, then, do some narratives succeed while others fail? The answer is found in the storytelling craft. Almost any story is capable of being a great one. The trick is in selecting and crafting the right story for its intended purpose.

The following are some guidelines for including stories in business speeches:

Personal narratives are welcome. Members of the audience are interested in learning about your background and beliefs. Your life experiences help to humanize and approachable you. They elucidate the identity of the individual concealed beneath the title. People follow leaders they respect and believe in, according to research. By sharing personal stories that illustrate life lessons, you demonstrate the source of your leadership wisdom. Before listeners can buy into your message, they must first buy you. The message is in you. With this in mind, the next logical question is: What is your story?

Punctuate. When told to business audiences, stories must make a point; therefore, before you begin, ensure that the point you wish to make is compatible with the story you will tell. However, exercising caution is advised. Never infuse a story with a point that does not fit naturally. The point should naturally arise from the narrative. When you’ve decided on a point to teach, ask yourself, “How did I learn that lesson?”

Begin with personal stories and work your way out. Begin your story by focusing on your central theme.

Consider the following. I demonstrate the importance of focusing on solutions rather than problems in one of my motivational keynote speeches by telling a story about being late for a speech in Kansas City. My flight had been delayed, and to add insult to injury, when I finally arrived at the airport, I missed the only shuttle that would have taken me to my speaking engagement on time. As a result, I spotted a limo at the curb and begged the driver to give me a ride out of desperation. Due to the fact that his other passenger had just canceled, he agreed.

By concentrating on the solution, I noticed the limo, acted and arrived on time for my appointment. I would have waited for the next shuttle and been late if I had concentrated on the problem. I would not have recognized the possibility of a novel solution. This critical point flows naturally from my limo story, and at the conclusion, I suggest that when things do not go as planned, “Look for the Limo.”

The details are what makes the magic happen. To pique your listeners’ imaginations, be sure to write detailed stories. Each nuance, each character, and each emotion must be remembered and related. Was it a car or an old beat-up Chevy with spongy shock absorbers that shimmed down the street like Elvis’ pelvis? Did the waiter take your order or did he recite the day’s ten specials as if he were rehearsing for Steven Spielberg’s new film? Use words to create images. Rather than a roller, use a fine brush.

To demonstrate and to inform. When the narrator recreates specific moments, the story comes to life. Leave the lectern and perform a “show and tell.” Switchback and forth between narration and action. When you simply recount an event from the past, it comes across as interesting. When that same event is recreated, it comes across as powerful and enthralling. You probably use animation frequently to convey show-and-tell stories. Present them as if you were with a small group of close friends in an intimate setting. Maintain an organic state. Whatever you do “off-stage” should be done “on stage?” Furthermore, enjoy yourself.

Consider your most recent speech. What are the details that you recall? If you’re like the majority of people, you’ll recall the stories told. You recall images and sounds, the majority of which occurred in your mind. The imagination is the most fertile soil for sowing the seeds of a new idea or vision.

When you tell me something, I hear it and comprehend it, and as a result, I acquire knowledge about the subject. However, intellectual comprehension is insufficient to motivate people to act. The term “motivation” derives from the Latin motives, which means “to move.” A strategic story elicits emotional responses; it “moves” people. When your story makes a logical point, knowledge and the motivation you’ve created converge. This results in a new level of comprehension and a desire to act on the part of your listeners.


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