When asked about the classic fairytale Cinderella, most of us here at All Good Tales can give a detailed synopsis of the Disney Princess who with the help of her fairy godmother, triumphed over her evil stepmother, went to a ball, fell in love with a Prince, and lost her glass slipper all before midnight.
However, the last time that most of us have actually watched this film has been over a decade ago, so why is it still so fresh in our minds?
This is because storytelling is the most powerful and effective way to deliver a message. It is one of the first ways we are taught how to listen and learn as a human. Storytelling is used in many aspects of our life from bedtime stories, to Saturday morning cartoons, and even grade school and college. Storytelling is a creative and effective way for a message to reach an audience. But the impact of storytelling goes far past the walls of a classroom or box of a television screen. It can be used in your career to benefit to your business life as well.
Here are some reasons why and how you can incorporate storytelling into your professional life, and go from Cinderella to CEO.
Stories are more effective
A good story flows nicely, is easy for a speaker to tell, and therefore is more memorable for the audience. The more information you throw at an audience, the less likely they are to absorb it. Facts will be forgotten, but stories that incorporate facts and information will have a greater effect on listeners and therefore are more likely to be remembered.
Stories make people want to listen, by taking an abstract theory and turning it into a story with an emotional plot. From a business perspective, sharing important company information through a storyline will engage your employees. It will also increase your chances of being not only heard but thoroughly understood.
Stories teach you how to listen
To be a good team player and valuable employee, you must be able to listen just as much as you contribute. When you listen to other people’s ideas and suggestions you are able to give the respect you want in return. You are also putting yourself in a position to learn new things. Establishing strong listening skills within your employees is important. It teaches them how to see situations from different perspectives and opens their minds to new ideas. Listening creates empathy and respect within your employees which creates a more diverse workplace.
Stories teach lessons
When a story is being told, it usually has an underlying message or lesson that the speaker is trying to convey to its audience. Storytelling is an excellent tool. It helps explain expectations, strengthen character and teach desired behavior within a workplace. When a speaker turns information into a relatable story with a lesson attached, it’s easier for the audience to connect to and learn from it. The best way to understand if something works or not is through trial and error.
However, whether you fail or succeed, you still walk away from every situation with a story to tell that ends with a lesson you learned. When you inform your employees about something work related to actual events, you are creating a mutual understanding that prevents history from repeating itself.
What to keep in mind
Once you decide to implement storytelling into your workplace, make sure to keep the following things in mind to ensure the highest level of impact on your employees:
- The stories you tell should be short and to the point. This helps keep the audience’s attention. If your story is too long then there’s greater possibility that your audience will lose interest. So make it short, sweet, and to the point.
- The stories you tell should be easy to understand so the speaker’s message doesn’t get lost. If you use big words, or complicated storylines it will be easy for the listener to get confused and stop listening. So make it an easy and enjoyable listen.
- The stories you tell should spark emotion within your audience. If a story is significant to you it will show in your delivery, and will then become significant to your audience as well. So make emotion a priority.
- The stories you tell should have a final lesson at the end that ties in your original message. If your initial thought is clear at the end of your story, then your audience will take away more from the experience. So make your message follow through.
By using storytelling as a teaching tool in business, you are ensuring that a message is reaching your audience in efficient and effective ways. A story doesn’t have to be produced by Disney in order for it to be heard and remembered. It just takes a good plot, a good lesson, and a good listener at the other end.