Using the power of Business Storytelling as a strategic influencing tool
Business storytelling is THE most powerful skill that CEOs and leaders can use to influence, teach, and inspire. And I’m not just talking about applying it to give speeches or make presentations. Business storytelling is incredibly effectively for whenever leaders have something important they need to communicate.
Whether it’s making a sale, persuading your people towards a particular course of action or presenting findings and recommendations at the end of a project, CEOs need to understand and be able to effectively apply business storytelling techniques that are going to influence and get your audience to take action.
Storytelling helps with learning and influence because stories are easy to remember.
There’s a scientific reason that stories stick too. Stories activate oxytocin, a chemical that is activated through the brain through engaging narratives, images, music and more. It has proven that stories activate 3 times more cortexes of the brain than facts and numbers alone.
Here are three sure fire ways you can get away from informing with facts, figures and data and start influencing:
1. Communicate your vision
The number one job for any CEO is to lead your people toward your vision. But how are they going to even get there if you don’t communicate it? Are you going to communicate it with graphs and numbers or with a narrative that everyone can buy into and see themselves as part of the vision?
I know which one I would choose.
When a vision is communicated effectively, it can be championed by the majority of the organization, making the vision a powerful force for bringing about transformational change.
2. Make them care
Engage your audience by using these four basic storytelling techniques:
– An exciting narrative: Your story needs to take your listeners on a journey that will lead them to an insight or realization – and it needs to create excitement so that you get their attention.
– Relatable characters: The characters in your story need to be people that your audience can relate to; people who are similar to them, so it makes them go “That’s me!”. It might even make them feel a little uncomfortable, but that’s ok, it means they’ll be in a better position for you to get them to take action.
– Give them an “A-ha” moment: This is the fundamental transformational shift in the story that helps people understand the message. Oprah Winfrey puts this brilliantly when she said: “You can’t have an Aha! moment unless you already knew it. The Aha is a remembering of what you already knew, articulated in a way to resonate with your own truth”.
– Open and close POWERFULLY: The way in which you open and close are your two PRIME moments, so don’t waste them. Never start with “I’m going to tell you a story”…that’s just a waste of the first 3 seconds when you need to win their attention. Shock and surprise them and circle your closing back to your opening so they see the journey and then they’re in the palm of your hand.
3. Show humanity
Showing your own humanity brings an authentic dimension to your storytelling. People buy into people, not your organization or your products.
The simple act of opening up about a time in your own life or career will help you become instantly relatable. Your audience will see you as perfectly imperfect and respect you even more for having the bravery to express yourself with such honesty and give you compelling resonance with your audience.
So now you understand the basic fundamentals of business storytelling, you need to start crafting your stories using the right strategy. Download my 6 Cs of Effective Storytelling to give you the blueprint that you can apply to ANY story you want to tell, in any situation, and do so with power and influence.