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|Storytelling in Business: The Power to Persuade|
|Blog - Personal Branding|
|Written by Karl Smith|
|Monday, 11 June 2012 00:00|
Nothing succeeds like success! And in business nothing succeeds quite like success stories.
Are you sharing yours? Why not? If you want to win the hearts and minds of your audience, you must be a master storyteller. Human beings have been communicating with each other through storytelling since we lived in caves and sat around campfires exchanging tales.
What is new today about the art of telling stories is the purposeful use of narrative to achieve a practical outcome with an individual, a community or an organisation. Unfortunately, storytelling has become a lost art in many businesses.
Why storytelling?Storytelling works. The simple reason why storytelling is becoming a major factor in networking, sales, management and leadership is that it works. Purposeful storytelling can get results that traditional abstract modes of communications can’t. Stories work for several reasons. For starters they're more memorable than numbers, names and dates.
Stories also work well because we enjoy the drama: a problem followed by a solution, a mystery solved with a twist, or a creative workaround to a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Also, the listener can find him or herself in the story as well. As communication tools, stories provide a means for understanding, remembering and acting on information.
Most importantly, stories also put a “face” to the “numbers”. That is, stories have the ability to bring to life accomplishments that go well beyond hard numbers, data and statistics. Success stories can be told in many ways – there is no “right” or “wrong” way to tell a story, because every story is unique to the community and circumstances from which it derives.
Because stories are so memorable, they're easy for listeners to recount in the future. So, if you arm your audience with a good story, they'll be able to communicate the details of your business more clearly. This is especially important in today’s world. Potential investors and customers will need to recount the information you shared with them to their partners and colleagues, so it's crucial that the information you share is retold accurately.Help people remember your message longer. People process stories in three ways — factually, visually and emotionally. If you want to win the hearts and minds of your audience members, you must be a master storyteller. Stories can help you:
Success stories offer a setting, a situation and a solution. Remember, you're the hero of your stories. Your decisions, actions and insights made a difference and it's OK to say so. Effective stories are always vivid, and they always create visual images in the mind of your audience.
Here are a few guidelines that can help you tell a powerful story:
Purposeful storytelling can get results in the modern business organisations that traditional abstract modes of communications can’t. Another commentator, Robert McKee concurs with this view in highlighting that: "A big part of a CEO's job is to motivate people to reach certain goals. To do that, he or she must engage their emotions, and the key to their hearts is story".
Though we all tell stories all the time, we are often unaware of it. Watch how others tell their stories. When did they tell their story? Who was around? How well did people react to the story? Once we realize what we are doing, we can all learn not only to become better storytellers but also to use storytelling to achieve business results.
PSST: Share this article with your business friends!
As a high stakes conference and key speaker, trainer, coach and consultant, Karl Smith has worked with thousands of senior executives, business developers and entrepreneurs in South Africa, challenging their traditional notions about business relationships and excellence.
This article may be copied or republished with the following credit: "By Karl Smith: author, speaker and founder of Business Networking South Africa” Cape Town,