As leaders, we are often called to tell stories for the sake of our employees, customers, or other stakeholders. We want them to feel connected to what we do and why it matters beyond just the bottom line. Great leaders need to be wonderful storytellers first and foremost. Stories have the power to inspire, delight, and motivate. They connect us together in ways that spread knowledge and information. At their heart, stories are about our lives -about who we are, how we react to certain situations, why some things matter more than others. They allow us to understand each other better.
Stories reveal the truth in engaging ways
Many times, leaders are faced with complex issues that include a lot of factors. As a result, everything is muddled together and it can be hard to understand what’s really going on or how to make the best decisions. With great storytelling skills, leaders can distill this complexity down into narratives that others will pay attention to and find valuable.
Stories humanize a brand, product or service
A story is an easy way to relate with your audience. When you tell a story that emphasizes the human aspect of your business, it helps people identify and relate to what’s happening. This isn’t an easy thing for some leaders if they tend to focus on the numbers and facts. But when you appeal to a person’s emotions and humanize your business, you’ll get more support for what you’re trying to accomplish.
Stories establish and maintain trust
Storytelling skills are critical if you want to build trust with those who support your business. Once people feel drawn into a narrative, they begin to care more about what happens next and who is involved. This deeper level of involvement makes it more likely they will trust you.
You don’t need an expert-level understanding of literature to tell stories for business. It’s common to feel like you won’t do it well or you don’t have time to learn all the tricks that go into creating a fascinating story. There are some general rules that are helpful, but even more important is knowing what point you’re trying to make and then figuring out how you can use storytelling to meet your goal.
The moment you start using storytelling as a tool for leadership, you’ll begin to notice how other leaders and companies are trying to tell stories, too. It’s one of the most powerful ways to connect with your people.