Monday, January 26, 2009

Tell stories and communicate better!

If you want to be known as a good communicator, learn to tell stories.

Heck, we all tell stories every day. We meet a client for the first time and we tell her the story of our company. If things go well, she tells us the story of her company. Before too long we begin to tell each other the stories of our lives, whom we're married to, how many kids we have, where we went to school, where we worked before, some obstacles we've overcome, and so on.

If we begin doing business together, our customers tell stories about their needs and we tell stories about our solutions to those needs. Our relationship proceeds and we tell the story of delivery, or failed deliveries. We package stories of new products, new services and, sometimes, new mergers and acquisitions. We are constantly telling stories!

Two experts in leadership had this to say about story telling: “Story telling is how we pass along lessons from generation to generation, culture to culture…(it) is the most basic form of communication – more prevalent and more powerful than facts and figures.” Kouzes and Posner

A fine writer on marketing had this to say: "The evening news, television shows, movies, and plays: all are stories. The music we love tells its story through lyrics, or evokes them with its words. Stories give us context, and context helps everyone at every age understand. Stories wield special power because they can be translated quickly into something visual. When we hear a story, we see it, too, and the visual image becomes something that sticks in our memories long after the words have fled.” Harry Beckwith

Another writer you know said this: “…stories work (manuals don’t); stories inspire (manuals don’t)”Tom Peters

Need more proof, Howard Gardner of Harvard said this about story telling: “A key, perhaps the key to leadership is…the effective communication of a story.”

How do you tell a business story? Try this technique:

Set the Stage (the location)
Name the Actors (a hero who wants something and obstacles in her path)
Tell the Action (be specific, concrete, tangible)

You have probably heard many stories about great customer service. Perhaps you have heard a story about great customer service at Nordstrom's. I have a few favorites if you haven't any. In any event, I know all of you have lots of great stories to tell... about business and otherwise! Let's start to share some of them!

1 comment:

  1. can you give an example of the technique you mentioned above on telling stories?