The Importance of Storytelling
To create reactions has been the art of storytelling since the beginning of time. Socrates, Churchill, Walt Disney. Bono, Obama, Bob Dylan, Richard Branson, Marc Benioff. They all have that skill in common. We hear them and we react. With passion, humour, anger, sorry and excitement. It changes our behaviour to buy, vote, create and live.
Today, most organisations have realised the importance of communications – but you can only do it with power if you tell engaging - and genuine – stories. Catchy slogans are all well and good, but it’s stories that create memorable experiences and make a lasting impact on your audience.
Because of the emotions they evoke, stories transcend borders, genders and cultures. They are fundamental to all cultures, religions and ages. They are myths and legends, novels and plays, poems and anecdotes.
For some incomprehensible reason, certain companies think that the message is the story. It isn’t. It’s only half the battle. It’s the index at best but without the chapters and the narrative there is no relevance, continuity, crescendo or grand finale to leave us thinking and crave for more. Stories reach everyone, so companies need to think like storytellers not like messaging machines. Your message just means you’re able to share your opinion, state what you believe in, why you believe in it, and say it’s great. So what? Who cares about that beyond you and the people who already believe in your business?
Those businesses who miss the link between themselves and the people they’re trying to reach are like megaphones without an off-button. They only think about what’s going on within their own four walls, obsessed with their own agenda. A product without purpose. A drug without the power to cure.
I’ve worked with countless companies over the past 20 years on storytelling workshops. It all starts with the question 'What would the world look like without your organisation?’ It’s the hardest question for anyone to answer because we all take everything for granted. Just imagine the world without tooth brushes, baby dummies or cars. We would suffer from decay, insomnia, insecure children and very tired legs!
Once you address these fundamental questions, everyone becomes a storyteller. People turn into children because storytelling is about that child’s mentality, playfulness and desire to talk to your friends about something really funny or interesting. Every single organisation manages to find their unique story, whether they’re a company that deals with banking compliance or investigates the effect of light technology.
There is of course a sophisticated element to it as well involving proof points, matrix, influencer mapping and spokespeople coaching but all those things are useless unless you adopt that exploring, fantasising and intriguing mindset that understand that what you have to tell is of huge interest and relevant to others. Tell the audience what they need to hear – not what you want to tell them.
Only then can you understand your organisation’s raison d’etre, mission, strategy and bigger purpose. Spokespeople become engaging storytellers. Messages become stories. Executives start to think about how their company touches people’s lives in a different way. They become a voice of authority, rather than a validation-seeking salesman.
The right story can transform your business. Isn’t it time to tell yours?
If you’re interested in a storytelling workshop for your business, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org