Address an audience with a profit and loss sheet in one hand and the likelihood is that you will lose their attention in seconds. Speak to the same audience with a great story and they will remember you for ever.
Storytelling is perceived to be one of the most ancient art forms and continues to this day to be a vibrant part of culture throughout the world.
As children, storytelling allowed us to explore our minds and develop great relationships with often imaginary characters. It allowed us the opportunity to delve into our imaginations as we began to play out a story that was unfolding, visualising characters and connecting with the events described.
This is something that creates a lasting impression as we all have that favourite book made up of fictional characters, each of us perceiving them differently. Similarly, storytelling continues to play a major part in our lives, both personally and professionally.
Storytelling has undoubtedly stood the test of time and to this day is perceived by many as a very powerful business tool as it builds connections, emotions and loyalty. Does your company have a brand story, that all important narrative which sets the tone for the way you wish the business to be perceived? It could be around a set of values that underpin the relationships you have with employees, customers or suppliers. Or, perhaps, it is more to do with your commitment to bring new innovation or a radically different approach to the sector you operate in.
Successful businesses build their brands by the use of narrative, using technique to form strategy, build a workplace culture, enhance employee performance and to ensure that everyone within a team is on the same journey.
Storytelling is inspirational. Leaders often look to storytelling when going through change, to boost morale or to inspire comradery. It helps teams to connect and to fulfil their potential.
Just like a story from our childhood, the one that applies to your business should take people on a journey through a start, middle and end. Tell them why you set out on the journey, the highs and lows of the journey – all good stories include periods when times were tough and people are keen to know how you overcame the obstacles – and then present the successful conclusion.
While storytelling was initially communicated via word of mouth or in small groups of people – both still very important – in today’s age of multi-channel communication powerful storytelling can be delivered via a range of channels – word of mouth, online videos, blogs, brochures and the traditional media.
Peter Guber, author and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, sums up storytelling nicely: “The ability to articulate your story or that of your company is crucial to almost every phase of enterprise management. It works all along the business food chain. A great salesperson knows how to tell a story in which the product is the hero. A successful line manager can rally the team to extraordinary efforts through a story that shows how short-term sacrifice leads to long-term success. An effective CEO uses an emotional narrative about the company’s mission to attract investors and partners, to set lofty goals, and to inspire employees. Sometimes a well-crafted story can even transform a seemingly hopeless situation into an unexpected triumph.”
All good stories need a strong theme and a clear narrative and most of all they must be memorable. If you would like to discuss how a powerful narrative can be developed so as to give you differentiation in the marketplace please contact Daniel O’Mahoney on 0191 519 7450. firstname.lastname@example.org
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