Business runs on numbers, facts, forecasts, and processes. If that sounds dull and unengaging, it's because those factors are not what really drive our passion and desire to excel, to lead, or to sink our hearts and souls into the work we do. Ultimately, the kind of transformative results that can come only from an enriched, passionate workforce depend on a distinctly human element.
Enter storytelling. The power of even a simple story to affirm someone's connection to your organization's people, values, and vision can mean the difference between simple competence and fully realized ownership. Simply put, your stories help your people feel more engaged and alive.
Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins not only ex-plains why this skill is so critical, but also how to learn and develop what many people mistakenly believe to be an innate gift of a precious few. The book takes you step by step through the process of identifying and choosing stories from your own life, experience, and knowledge, and then linking them, fully and authentically, to the themes, messages, and goals of your workplace.
You'll learn how to build consensus, win others over to your point of view, and foster better group decision-making using six kinds of stories:
Who-I-Am Stories. People need to know who you are before they can trust you. Reveal who you are, as a person, by telling a story about a time, place, or event that reveals that you have the qualities your audience seeks.
Why-I-Am-Here Stories. People are more wary than ever of hidden agendas and false promises, so make sure you explain your agenda in advance. Be authentic and satisfy their curiosity of what's in it for you, if they do as you ask.
Teaching Stories. Certain lessons are best learned from experience--some of them over and over again during a lifetime. Telling a story that creates a shared experience is much more powerful than offering advice.
Vision Stories. The prospect of a worthy, exciting future can help to reframe present difficulties as "worth it," turning seemingly huge obstacles into small irritants on the path to a broader goal.
Values-in-Action Stories. Values are subjective. To some, integrity means doing what their bosses tell them to do. To others, it means saying no, even if it costs them their jobs. If you want to encourage a value, tell a story that illustrates the real-world manifestation of that value.
I-Know-What-You-Are-Thinking Stories. Some-times people have already made up their minds about the ideas you're trying to get across. Sharing their possible suspicions in a story that first validates and then dispels their objections helps you build their trust--without sounding defensive.
In a business climate that immerses people in endless information, stories help you tie it all together into something that matters on a more personal level. This revelatory book helps you connect with your audience--and convey the true purpose of your message.
Annette Simmons is president of Group Process Consulting, whose clients include NASA, the IRS, and Microsoft. She has been featured on CNBC's "Power Lunch" and NPR's "Market Watch," and has been quoted in Fortune, The Washington Post, and other publications. She is the author of several books including The Story Factor.
Connect with Annette Simmons at: Twitter@TheStoryFactorshow more