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It was he who recorded the oral history of the tribe, encoding its beliefs, values, and rules in the tales of its great heroes, of its triumphs and tragedies.

Storytelling plays a similar role today. For the leader, storytelling is action oriented—a force for turning dreams into goals and then into results. Second, many people assume that storytelling is somehow in conflict with authenticity.

The great storyteller, in this view, is a spinner of yarns that amuse without being rooted in truth. But great storytelling does not conflict with truth.

3 Principles To Master Storytelling

In the business world and elsewhere, it is always built on the integrity of the story and its teller. Hence the emphasis on truth as its touchstone in our dinner symposium. Authenticity, as noted above, is a crucial quality of the storyteller. He must be congruent with his story—his tongue, feet, and wallet must move in the same direction. The consummate modern shaman knows his own deepest values and reveals them in his story with honesty and candor.

Costco could have stuck to the original price and dropped seven extra dollars a pair straight into its own pocket. The same is true of every leader, in business or any other field. Take Barack Obama. His story is all about who he is. And everything about him is part of it, down to his physical presence: the eye contact, the hand on the shoulder, the sound of his voice. Being true to yourself also involves showing and sharing emotion.

Because it often requires being vulnerable—a challenge for many leaders, managers, salespeople, and entrepreneurs. By willingly exposing anxieties, fears, and shortcomings, the storyteller allows the audience to identify with her and therefore brings listeners to a place of understanding and catharsis, and ultimately spurs action. Here is the challenge for the business storyteller: He must enter the hearts of his listeners, where their emotions live, even as the information he seeks to convey rents space in their brains.

Our minds are relatively open, but we guard our hearts with zeal, knowing their power to move us.

The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling

To reach it, the visionary manager crafting his story must first display his own open heart. Listeners give the storyteller their time, with the understanding that he will spend it wisely for them. To meet the terms of this contract—and ideally even over deliver on it—the great storyteller takes time to understand what his listeners know about, care about, and want to hear. Then he crafts the essential elements of the story so that they elegantly resonate with those needs, starting where the listeners are and bringing them along on a satisfying emotional journey.

This journey, resulting in an altered psychological state on the part of the listener, is the essence of storytelling. I study their reactions and then, even more important, study my reaction to them. What I must follow is my own deepest instinct, and this is best revealed to me as I see how I respond to the feelings and thoughts of other people.

Business leaders too need to be in touch with their listeners—not slavish or patronizing, but receptive—in order to know how to lead them. Getting your story right for your listeners means working past a series of culs-de-sac and speed bumps to find the best path. Every storyteller is in the expectations-management business and must take responsibility for leading listeners effectively through the story experience, incorporating both surprise and fulfillment.

This requires a willingness to surrender ownership of the story. Business leaders need to tap into this drive by using storytelling to place their listeners at the center of the action. She often tells her life story in a way that anyone can identify with, recalling how she felt like an outcast at her all-girls school as a teenager—with glasses, braces, and corrective shoes—and how that prepared her for the rigors of her professional life.

When you hear Krawcheck describe her journey in these terms, you know exactly how she feels. Perhaps of equal import, business leaders must recognize that how the audience physically responds to the storyteller is an integral part of the story and its telling. Communal emotional response—hoots of laughter, shrieks of fear, gasps of dismay, cries of anger—is a binding force that the storyteller must learn how to orchestrate through appeals to the senses and the emotions.

Getting the audience to cheer, rise, and vocalize in response to a dramatic, rousing conclusion creates positive emotional contagion, produces a strong emotional takeaway, and fuels the call to action by the business leader.

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The ending of a great narrative is the first thing the audience remembers. The litmus test for a good story is not whether listeners walk away happy or sad. Orchestrate emotional responses effectively, and you actually transfer proprietorship of the story to the listener, making him an advocate who will power the viral marketing of your message.

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A great storyteller never tells a story the same way twice. Instead, she sees what is unique in each storytelling experience and responds fully to what is demanded. A story involving your company should sound different each time.

Whether you tell it to 2, customers at a convention, salespeople at a marketing meeting, ten stock analysts in a conference call, or three CEOs over drinks, you should tailor it to the situation. The context of the telling is always a part of the story. And it did, though the information had been gathered in advance.

One way I could retell it in a more interesting, more storytelling-type of way is this:. It was an overcast Monday in Brooklyn. The tree limbs shook their leaves off, and gusts of wind were pushing people toward or away from their destinations with such determination. As Jyssica fought her way home, dreaming of her warm apartment and the book she was so close to finishing, her hat was torn from her head and carried away.


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Looking up, she watched the wind dance her hat further away with each breath, and she gave chase. An uneven bit of sidewalk blocked her way, and Jyssica tripped and tumbled to the ground in what could only be called inelegant and a toast to her uncoordinated style. Though not seriously injured, Jyssica gave up the battle, said goodbye to her cap, and limped her way down the final block home. Defeated, she curled up with tea, her cat, and a book to revive her spirits. To me, this was a much more fun way to read the same story.

Why You Need To Use Storytelling For Learning

It feels more real, has more depth, and describes the scene in a way that I can see it more clearly. That is an example of third person storytelling, in both examples. This same story could be reported, described, and written in prose in first or second person perspective, or in any way you can think of. Are you a storyteller?

What perspectives do you use? How did you hone your skills? As a result, the National Storytelling Network would like to explain the term as it is used by the growing and vibrant community of storytelling practitioners in the United States and Canada. Our hope is to call attention to storytelling as an art worth promoting, and to help those outside the storytelling community to distinguish storytelling from other, related forms of human expression.

6 Storytelling Trends Marketing Leaders Should Know About

Storytelling involves a two-way interaction between a storyteller and one or more listeners. The responses of the listeners influence the telling of the story. In fact, storytelling emerges from the interaction and cooperative, coordinated efforts of teller and audience. In particular, storytelling does not create an imaginary barrier between the speaker and the listeners. Different cultures and situations create different expectations for the exact roles of storyteller and listener — who speaks how often and when, for example — and therefore create different forms of interaction.

The interactive nature of storytelling partially accounts for its immediacy and impact. At its best, storytelling can directly and tightly connect the teller and audience. Storytelling uses language, whether it be a spoken language or a manual language such as American Sign Language. The use of language distinguishes storytelling from most forms of dance and mime. These actions are the parts of spoken or manual language other than words. Their use distinguishes storytelling from writing and text-based computer interactions. Not all nonverbal language behaviors need to be present in storytelling.