Storytelling for More Powerful Messages

Storytelling for BusinessWhat I learned this week: Incorporating stories into your presentations and business interactions produces better results.

 

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Diane Windingland on storytelling for business. At first, this may seem like a strange subject. Stories? Business? Do we have time for stories in the business world? Well, after listing to Diane, I can tell you we need to make time for stories. Diane presented a strong case for why stories work to help us retain and understand all sorts of information – business or personal. For example, can you tell me mathematically ∏ (Pi) to the fifth decimal place? What about the fifth president? No cheating and looking it up in Google! Unless you’re studying these subjects right now, these answers are hard for most people to come up with off the top of their head. Now what if I asked you to recall the story of the three little pigs? A much easier answer for most of us. Why? Because it’s a story and we are hardwired to retain stories. After all, the passing down of stories is how humans survived for thousands of years. This simple example made it quite clear to me that Diane was on the right track. She went on to explain how we can use stories to better communicate our issues, ideas and updates in business.

 

Let’s say you want to communicate to the Board how much money could be saved or how many people you  could reach with your new idea. Applying Diane’s advice you wouldn’t just dump in a spreadsheet full of numbers and leave it at that. To really get your message across you want to work with both sides of the brain. The creative right side and the logical left. One way to do this might be to add comparative photos to illustrate the savings in terms of stacks of money or crowds of people. When we see two stacks of money or crowds of people side-by-side we can visually understand the concept. Visualization makes us register the event differently and we tend to remember it better.

 

A visual story is great, but what about taking it one step further and adding an auditory component? What if you depicted for the Board exactly how the future might look if you saved that money, or reached those new prospects, by telling them a story of the future? You’ve just connected to the Board on three levels – factual, visual and emotional. Guess what? They are not only likely to remember your message better, but sign off on your request because you have appealed to them at a higher level than most of the ideas they have seen that day.

 

I’m excited to try out Diane’s ideas. Sure it’s going to take a few more minutes of thinking on my part, but just think of the rewards. The added benefit? Fewer dull Power Point presentations or dry meetings. Won’t YOU rather see and hear stories integrated into the message than see Excel spreadsheets and over-crowded bullet points fill the screen?

 

To learn more about Diane and her speaking presentations and services, visit her Linkedin profile.

 

 

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.