It seems like the corporate world has discovered or re-discovered
that a story has an impact on the bottom line. We killed the workplace
soul that fuels creativity, ownership, and dedication with the
removal of our stories as part of how we work. Just try to find
out how many people know the story of their organization or the
life stories of their colleagues.
Who, when, why and how was the organization started are story
elements that are largely relegated to oblivion in the rush to
have someone doing something for the pay they are receiving. Ask
how many companies still have time set aside for employee orientation.
Lack of that critical initial connection can be attributed to
why many employees don't feel like they belong. Stories are the
only ticket we need to belong.
We often don't know the stories of the people we work with or
the stories of our customers. Where did they come from? What
are their life experiences? What are their family structures,
hobbies and ups and downs? How does their personal vision align
with the organizational mission? Stories are the only ticket
we need to connect with others.
Statistics and PowerPoint slides, as good as some may argue
they are, can never achieve the integrated value of a good
story. Statistics and slides if used beyond a point determined
by listeners, become the reason why they either text
messages, read their email or watch videos on their cell
phone-because to them, that is not as rude as dozing. A
story, once started with appropriate connecting power, makes
people want to hear the conflict and solution parts as well
as the ending.
A story helps people own what they synthesized from it.
They want to act it. They want to team up with others
who were touched by the story in the same way. People
want to do business with organizations or individuals
whose story they know. People heal, find hope and get
inspiration to bounce back after setbacks when they hear
the story of someone who has overcome similar setbacks.
Not all stories are fit for corporate consumption.
Cinderella tales, Jack and the Beanstalk and why the
Monkey and the Shark are not good friends (as told by
this writer) have audiences that hold their breath so
they donít miss a word of the plot. But can you extrapolate
the message that relates to the bottom line without your
audience thinking they are re-doing kindergarten? You
have to know how to select and tell stories that Make
People Listen, Think and Act.
What is the point of your story?
Is it an inspirational piece or a manipulation tool?
How does it improve the bottom line?
Does the story have the interest of the customer?
Does it challenge people to own their decisions and actions?
Do listeners feel and know they belong after listening to the story?
Does the story create an environment for diverse ideas from different backgrounds?
Does the story reveal how a customerís life will be improved by your products/services?
Does it inspire people to take risks and bounce back after setbacks?
Anybody can tell a story. The question is, however, can
your listeners make it their own vision, be inspired by
it and create the future you want them to achieve?