Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die? Does it in fact relate to storytelling?
Ask yourself the following three questions about your audience:
Do they understand what I have just said?
Can they remember it?
Can they retell it without losing its meaning?
Use purposeful storytelling to successfully address these three challenges.
A story is not the same as a metaphor or an analogy. Metaphors and analogies provide your audience with an easy way to compare something but do not necessarily engage or inspire. Beware the metaphor or analogy that itself needs further explanation. In a business context you need to use a combination of metaphors, analogies and stories.
Metaphors and analogies when you want to give your audience a quick way of understanding something, and stories to connect, engage and inspire. Use the language appropriate for that particular audience.
The book mentions a boss who struggled to engage with staff cutting costs. He in passing mentioned a story from his childhood “we certainly weren’t poor, but my parents worked full time and they would always say to me and my two brothers. You work hard for your money, but you only get to spend it once, so spend it wisely” that has always stayed with him. This was a story about his own values, however he had never shared that story with any of his employees.
Then he started incorporating this story when talking about spending the companies money and this resonated with the audience much better. Prior to this he had been attempting to influence purely through logic.
As a business leader use all three – logic, an emotional connection and credibility.
Be sure to be aware of curse of knowledge what you say must be understandable to non expert.
It is important to ensure your stories do not take too long to tell. One to two minutes should be the rule of thumb. They can go longer, but you would really have to make sure you have done everything you can to strip out unnecessary detail. Just keep coming back to the purpose.
Word of caution – never start with ‘let me tell you a true story’ as this implies other stories you tell are not true.
Use humour only with purpose. Provide credit when due and if there is something unusual in a story at times you may need to include a one line explanation. For example that everyone has a chainsaw in Tasmania carries a chainsaw in their car.
Aim to create a story that brings emotion to your audience and is relevant for them.
A story has a beginning, time and place, middle, action, then the ending.
Don’t be directive at end of story if you need to tell people what to do and how to interpret the story just skip that story in the first place!
Even if your story is a bit negative in nature — such as a bad customer experience — it is important to end on a positive note. It is very important to have a positive link as positive endings inspire people.
There are three steps to follow when ending your story:
the bridge, which brings your audience back to the business context
the link, which links subtly to the business message (the purpose of the story) the pause, at the end.