Old Storyteller

The Storyteller

I have decided that I would like to become a great storyteller. 
I am not exactly sure what it means to be a great storyteller, but the Harvard Business Review makes it clear that storytelling expertise is the path to wealth, influence, and ego-building coverage in the Harvard Business Review. I want more of that stuff.  So, I had better get on board with this new storytelling trend.
If the term “storytelling” invokes images of campfires, grim German academics, starving writers, or old bearded cowboys for you, you might think it is a trifling talent only applicable in innocent efforts to enlighten and entertain.  But I am learning that, in the right hands, it can be a powerful weapon to manipulate and market, to punish your competitors, and to reward those loyal to you and your enterprise.
At one time, the world of commerce was dominated by boring and unadorned facts and numbers: sales reports, budgets, and stock prices. Things that put people to sleep.  But business analysts and managers are evidently waking up and recognizing that saying things in compelling and interesting ways can be more effective routes to getting work done. Strange. (Click here to learn how to increase your counter-intuitive capacities).
According  to the learned business journal articles I am now consuming with abandon, the modelling, field research, and data analysis is showing that people often like to be entertained and regularly find interesting those things that touch them personally and emotionally.   They also tend to remember ideas that are communicated in a way that is - ah, well, ah, -  memorable !   Business experts and consultants have thus come up with a term to label combinations of words that are illustrative, easily remembered, and touching.  They call these things “stories.”
Great “stories” it seems, can motivate your troops, placate your troops, or trick your troops depending upon the circumstances and needs.  Telling tales is also a much better way to tame your shareholders and win over new customers than pulling up flaccid piles of information, dry data, or sterile reasoning.  When business becomes complex and challenging, best to wrap it all up in a simplified narrative rich in drama and description and punt the warm and fuzzy ball over the heads of your stakeholders.  So, I am learning.
Now, the race is on to identify and sell effective business storytelling techniques. 

The study of the art and science of storytelling is, in a way, not new.  It can be traced through time from ancient thinkers like Aristotle to modern teachers like John Gardner.  These guys had lots to say about plotting, characterization, drama, conflict, aesthetics, narrative, perspective, and description. 

But the business of business storytelling has revealed that those concepts are just window dressing to the truly important issues.  As recently discovered by the great business story tellers, the key devices are not plot, character, and dialogue, but rather staying on the message, closing the deal, and “sounding authentic” to make your listeners think you really believe what you are saying. 

Clearly, you first have to suck all of the art and beauty out of your story-like information to make sure you have room for your "business story" pitch.
The experts package insights like these in Top 10 lists, how-to books on leadership, sound bites for media interviews, slide shows, and journal articles.
So, today you can find information on business storytelling techniques and testimony to the strategic communication power of the story in every format imaginable – well, except maybe in the form of one of those things that the rest of us might call "a story."

Click Here for Story of Don Quixote in a Government Office