Telling stories is a superpower. Stories are memorable, they evoke emotion, they connect us, and they help us communicate our personal brand.
This week we’re focusing on STORYTELLING, one of the 3 COMMUNICATION SUPERPOWERS:
Recently, I’ve been personally experimenting with STORYTELLING. For example, I’ve released podcast episodes and conducted corporate workshops WITH and WITHOUT storytelling. The results are clear:
- Podcast listeners and workshop attendees both explicitly mention “the stories you told” as key to their learning!
- Podcast episodes with stories are amongst the most downloaded.
Whether you’re podcasting, negotiating, presenting, or leading a meeting, STORYTELLING can be a key weapon to improve your communication effectiveness.
What’s the story here?
Read on to learn:
- 4 reasons WHY you should tell stories
- WHEN we can tell stories
- WHAT stories?
4 Reasons WHY You Should Tell Stories
1. Stories are MEMORABLE
- Research shows that people recall stories more readily than they recall facts and figures. Want to be memorable? Tell a story!
2. Stories evoke EMOTIONS
- It’s not surprising that hearing a story can evoke emotions, be it delight, anger, relief…
- Combining the memory point above with this idea of emotions: “People may forget what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou) You can evoke feelings and emotions through storytelling.
3. Stories CONNECT us
- Stories connect us through common life experiences
- According to Andrew Musselman of Fluency: “Any presentation that incorporates storytelling is going to connect with the listeners on a much more personal level. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard about storytelling… Storytelling is like a Trojan horse for your point of view.”
4. *** Storytelling can illustrate your PERSONAL BRAND and ultimately fuel your SUCCESS ***
- According to academic research, successful women typically leverage storytelling to create a leader-bound narrative. They focus their personal narrative on a message of hard work and the pursuit of leadership.
- Stories can be used to create a narrative supporting your personal brand. According to Mala Gaonkar (Lone Pine Capital), “Narratives rule the world.”
- Legal veteran Norm Bacal highlights that the best lawyers in the courtroom are proficient storytellers. “The people who are the greatest successes are the best storytellers.”
WHEN to Tell Stories
Here are 5 ideal storytelling contexts:
- Whenever you need to engage people’s attention (e.g. you are giving a presentation, leading a meeting, etc.)
- Specifically at the beginning of a presentation or meeting (Get their attention right out of the gates!)
- At the end of your presentation or meeting (Tie it back to the story you told at the beginning. People love that!)
- When you’re communicating your personal brand (Explicitly label the trait, then illustrate it with a story!)
- When you’re negotiating and your rational points aren’t being heard (Recently I was negotiating on behalf of someone but the facts just didn’t seem to make a difference. So I told a true story that illustrated the impact of my request. BINGO.)
Storytelling is a superpower!
Where do these great stories come from?
I have a few ideas:
It’s NOT all about you! The story doesn’t have to be about you. The story could focus on someone you know, a stranger, or even an inanimate firm or brand.
If you’re teaching or instructing people, share a story that of what happens when people don’t follow the instructions.
Tell a story about when you didn’t take your own advice, like when I advised people to put their water glass on a different surface during Zoom meetings… I didn’t, my water glass spilled, and I almost destroyed my laptop!
Tell the story about your first failed attempt at something. At the beginning of the “Communicating with Confidence” podcast episode, I tell the story of the first time I gave a short speech at a national sales meeting. I was so nervous, I was sweaty, shaking, and was told that my face was as red as my hair!
Are you getting the theme here?
Tell a story of transformation. It could be “the hero’s journey,” someone who overcame obstacles, persevered, and finally succeeded.
Everyone loves a hero!
Please forward this email to anyone who might appreciate some storytelling tips. Thank you! And please email me anytime with feedback, topic suggestions, or stories!
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach
Most Recent 🎧Podcast Episodes:
#71 – PERSONAL BRANDING, AUTHENTICITY & TMI with Tom Megginson
#70 – LEADING & PARTICIPATING in Online Meetings
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