Storytelling In Business

I am a big believer in storytelling in business and using stories to make a point. If you’ve seen one of my presentations or trainings, you’ve seen me tell a story – you’ve experienced a story with me. Storytelling is about tapping into a passion about some topic. It is about taking the listener to a place that is visceral, visual, concrete, emotional and possibly unexpected.

For many years, I have used the formula for a good story that I learned from Robert Dickman, author of The Elements of Persuasion.

  1. A story is a fact
  2. Wrapped in emotion
  3. That compels us to take action
  4. That transforms us in some way

The key to this formula is that a good story compels people to take action, and that action transforms or helps them in some way. I always try to re-live a story, not just re-tell a story. An important aspect of storytelling is to make it sound fresh and alive. Re-living the story gives you that same excitement as when you first experienced it or heard it. It is the kind of passion that you need to apply to your business.

The Power of Storytelling While Networking

The power of storytelling in a networking situation is that it captures people’s attention and provides a way to connect with them on a more personal level.

A trait that great networkers develop is to have a story that is theirs and that is personal, coming from positive or negative background – it doesn’t matter. An effective story creates a link from your experience to what you’re doing in your business now. This helps people understand the connection between where you come from, to what you do, and why you do it.

Successful networkers also have a specific ask. When the business relationship has been established and you are at the point where you can ask for a referral, or they ask how they can help you, be prepared. Have clarity about exactly what you want and know how to concisely share your goal or idea with your networking partners.

Storytelling Can Be Inspiring

Dr. Mark Goulston has said that “a story is a portable storage unit for one’s dreams, fears, hopes, humor and sorrows that people visit–or visits people–from time to time for them to stay in contact with their humanity.”

When you include stories while training your teams or employees, you may find increased engagement and attentiveness. Storytelling can help them embrace the new ideas you are sharing or better retain the information you’re giving. The story you tell may inspire someone to set a bigger goal or move beyond their comfort zone to achieve more in their professional life. Sharing a story, a personal part of yourself, can make a deeper and more personal connection to those you work with, including your customers and clients. Effective storytelling is an important part of one’s emotional intelligence.

Some years ago, I was at a storytelling event hosted by the Academy Award-winning movie producer, Peter Guber, who said that “what if” is more powerful than “how to” in a story. Very true, indeed. Getting people to think of the possible rather than simply look at the present can truly help make a great story. And a great story can make a great impact in business.

Have you experienced a great story in your work or professional life?
Do you use storytelling in your business?
I would love for you to share in the comment section below.

5 thoughts on “Storytelling In Business

  1. Do you remember the Story going on between Mr. Abhijit Chalke BNI Mumbai and me concerning the Great Support to get my daughter flying to Delhi Airport when pandemic Situation started in India ? … all these wonderful facts were collected and connected in my Heart. Last year they inspired me to Write a Book together with my Husband. Again it was the Network of BNI who made that this Dream changed into Reality. In December our Novel „Das Hochzeitszimmer“ was Published in a Publishing House in Vienna/Austria …
    Thanks to the bottom of my Heart for the Essence of Storytelling.
    Greetings from Rosenheim/Germany

  2. I totally agree Dr. Misner about the powerful effect of storytelling. I learnt from Russell Brunson the magic formula that Hollywood movies use to tell their stories, it is called Epiphany Bridge Story, and it taps into this emotional connection that you mention so our story stays in the mind of our listeners, including our fellow BNI members. I did 57 1-1s in the first month and a half of being in BNI and I used this strategy with quite a success. I had the honor of teaching this method in one of the educational video conferences in BNI Colombia and it resonated very well with the people who attended. By sharing our story in a powerful way in every BNI encounter we can increase dramatically the chances to be in top of the minds of our fellow members when is time to give a referral. So it is really powerful, also for our principal presentation

  3. People will forget everything you said after a few weeks. However, the touching and story that you shared with them will be remembered for a lifetime.

    A great story can demostrate the corporate core values.
    A great story can create the great culture.
    A great story can align and bond people together to achieve the impossible goals.

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