I’ve done much reflection over the past months, on what worked and what didn’t, with the change efforts I led in the last twelve years I spent in Corporate Canada. Consistently, each time I recall us making a big impact, it was when we had a great story that engaged our target audience.
I have also studied like I was back in university getting my “MBA” in storytelling, to better understand the ins and outs of story and business. I have increased my knowledge but I still have an open beginner’s mind as I continue on this learning path.
From all my reflection and studies, I see 3 key reasons why storytelling is fundamental for driving change or, why to use storytelling in business…
1. First of all, storytelling captivates interest.
In the business world where meeting presenters frequently overkill with data, stories pique the attendees’ listening ears, creating more attentive listeners through entertainment. If a changemaker can’t captivate interest or create attentive listeners, their audience simply will not hear the message.
2. Secondly, stories stay in memory.
The right story told to the right audience in a compelling way will stick in memory banks for years to come. As a result, that person is more likely to share the story with (and influence) others, and the learning of the story is more likely impact their future behaviour.
3. Lastly, stories get to the heart.
In a world where data may excite the mind, it will rarely engage the heart. Stories engage both sides of the brain and therefore get more of the person internally ‘on board’. If your quest is to motivate people to take enthusiastic action of some sort, capturing the mind is not enough, you need to capture the heart too.
As changemakers, in our crazy-busy, information-overwhelm world, it can feel like we have a challenging road ahead of us, in driving the change we seek. But, if we can share our message in a way that captivates interest, easily remembered and engages the heart, we can create the change we seek. Simply, that is the power of storytelling in business.
What can you do?
Below are a few questions to assess the impact and the effectiveness of your quest’s communications….
On a scale of Low, Medium and High:
- INTEREST – To what extent have you seen your targeted audience’s interest highly piqued? Are they engaged? Asking great questions? Are they attentive or watching their cell phones?
- MEMORY – To what extent have you heard of members of your target audience resharing the information/stories you shared?
- HEART – Are your stakeholders enthusiastically taking action? To what extent does it appear that their hearts have been captivated?
- STORY USE – Are you using powerful stories or solely data to compel others?
Then, once you reflect on your answers to the above, identify two things:
- BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY – Where is your biggest opportunity to use stories in your quest
- NEXT STEP – What is your next step or steps?
Interested in listening to a short audio on this topic? Then click here for Donna's podcast episode.