The value - and peril - of the term Storytelling

I increasingly see "Storytelling" pop up in business articles. That's good for my line of work.

But a lot of my potential clients struggle with understanding what storytelling is... or how their business would benefit.

They seem to expect something like this:

"Once upon a time, in a faraway land, an engineer found herself in the customer's tower with a set of unexpected and slightly alarming options before her...."

Castle painting courtesy of Wix

Wait. No. Let's start over.

"Five years ago, on an evening much like this, a group of Account Executives just like you lost their way during a team building exercise. The sun was going down, a mist was rolling in, and they all had the nagging feeling that..."

Misty woods photo courtesy of Wix

No. Scratch that, too. How about...

"...and in the confusion we ran into Jimmy Dierkmann. That reminds me about the time we were in a meeting and the customer knocked her coffee all over the conference table, the speaker phone, and Dierkmann's lap. The customer... what was her name?... was running around, looking for..."

Army Humvee photo courtesy of Wix


These types of storytelling - fairytales, campfire stories, "war stories" - can be entertaining.


More often they are boring, irrelevant, or distracting.

And they serve little purpose in business when we need to persuade others. Which is all the time.

Unfortunately, this is what comes to mind when many professionals hear the term "Storytelling."

Since I'm a Corporate Storyteller, it should come as no surprise that I have a different perspective.

To me, Corporate Storytelling isn't about telling THE story of your business. It's really about using many ingredients of persuasion (emotion, logic, interest, learning, focus, authenticity, etc.) in the right way to help your audiences make decisions and take action sooner.

Using different types of short stories is an effective and memorable way to deliver some of those ingredients.

Putting all these ingredients together into a compelling package creates an overall message for your topic that people can understand, remember, and act upon.

Because that's what leads your audience to buy, to engage, to take action.

That's the kind of storytelling you should be delivering in your business.

Need help? Let me know. We can leave the popcorn or marshmallows at home.

#Sales #Decisions #Emotion #Authenticity

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