Why You are the Story in Business Storytelling
on September 7th, 2021
Successful Business Storytelling Means Becoming the Story
“Why do we love stories? Chalk it up to human nature: Stories are how we connect; they help us belong,” says Genevieve Georget, executive book editor for Round Table Companies. We’ve all been to conferences and seminars where the final keynote is charged with imparting lasting wisdom before we go on our separate ways. Georget shares an experience where a final presenter let her vulnerable side show, immediately captivating Georget and other audience members.
Successful business storytelling sometimes means becoming the story. “We often forget to engage in storytelling when giving professional presentations. As a result, we weaken our connections with our audiences. But often, it’s challenging to share ourselves as storytellers—especially in professional settings,” says Georget.
To combat that challenge, Georget provides specific tactics to become the story in successful business storytelling.
One such tactic is to show, not tell. All good stories immerse the listener or reader when peppered with proper details that show scenarios taking place, rather than telling the audience they’re taking place. This allows others to experience the storyteller’s perspective in vivid ways. Consider using sensory details such as smell, sight, taste, touch, and sound when sharing aspects of your story.
“But emotions are the gateway to seeing another human being and the road they’ve walked. When listeners see a genuine tear in the corner of a keynote speaker’s eye, for example, they become riveted with the person’s presentation.”
Business Storytelling Can Be Emotional
Another component of successful business storytelling is practicing bringing emotion into the story. “It’s often thought that being emotional in professional settings is inappropriate,” Georget says. “But emotions are the gateway to seeing another human being and the road they’ve walked. When listeners see a genuine tear in the corner of a keynote speaker’s eye, for example, they become riveted with the person’s presentation.”
It was the raw emotion the keynote speaker vulnerably displayed that brought a room of conference attendees to complete silence.
Remember the “Why”
A third tactic is to remember the “why” when telling your story. Stories are powerful and transformational, but you must remain grounded in the “why” you are sharing. Ask yourself what you are trying to tell your audience members and what you hope to make them feel before they leave the room.
“Stories are an art form in and of themselves. And mastering the art of storytelling is one of the primary ways to become a better speaker,” says Georget. “The more you allow stories to organically arise in your presentations—whether that’s in a five-minute speech to the Rotary Club about your newest product or a forty-minute TED-style talk—the more you can create richer and deeper experiences for your audiences.”