As an event facilitator, performer and corporate thought leader, I’ve spent the majority of my life learning to tell stories and teaching others how to embrace and share theirs. Stories are powerful. Stories show, not tell, and they’re some of the greatest communication tools we have.
Think back to your last business meeting or team training. Was there an opportunity to share one of your strengths with the person you were speaking with? How did you communicate that? If you just listed your strengths, you may have done yourself a disservice. Turning that list into a well-crafted (true) story can take you from mouthpiece to influential leader in no time. Here are three great reasons you should work on your storytelling!
- You can back up your claims. Storytelling allows us to talk about a time when we were resourceful, creative, fearless, innovative, etc. Next time you’re trying to communicate a lesson to your team, instead of listing off traits to describe yourself or strengths that you perceive yourself to have, think about a story you could share to demonstrate it instead. What situation would best illustrate the point you’re trying to make? Examples are powerful.
- You enhance your connection to others. We’ve all been in meetings or interviews where we’ve been stuck listening to someone ramble on about how they are an out-of-the-box thinker or detail oriented. After a few minutes, we start to tune out. Remember that storytelling can help you engage others in active listening, making yourself and your story more memorable and impactful. Stories give others touch points and things to relate to. Don’t underestimate the power of this connection. It could be the difference between a team that listens and a team that tunes out.
- You learn about yourself. Believe it or not, by learning the art of objectively telling a story, you can see yourself and your behavior more clearly. It may even illuminate that some of your perceived weaknesses are actually your strengths. We tend to look at our lives through filters. By working on the story, you remove the filter and allow yourself to truly see your brilliance.
Do you often employ storytelling to communicate in the professional world?