Let Me Tell You a Story!

04.19.13 FridayStories are the single most powerful tool in a leader’s toolkit. ~ Howard Gardner, Harvard psychologist

Who do you know that possesses the ability to always  tell the right story at the right time?

Rather often, the greatest storytellers turn out to be our managers and leaders.

Even if you have no plans of becoming a CEO or leading a division, you certainly desire added control over your work, ideas, sphere of influence and others’ perceptions.

Effective storytelling can assist one gain additional control, in addition to building employee optimism, strengthening teamwork and discovering how problems can be solved. You’ll find it much easier to develop unique and effective resolutions to everyday challenges.

Storytelling – It Is In Our Genes

In 1995, two valued economists predictable that 28 percent of the U.S. gross national product (GNP) was involved in commercial influence (to include law, public relations, psychology, consulting, education and marketing).

For anyone involved in influencing others, endurance hinges on on cutting through the noise and clutter to make the sale or influencing others to accept our point of view.

Storytelling both sells and convinces others because it’s an instinctive skill that has grown over centuries—something we all know how to do and have experienced.

In fact, there is a storytelling gene that was discovered in 2001, referred to as FOXP2, which gives us the skills both physical and neurologically to speak words rapidly and precisely. We use these language abilities to form complex sentences in the proper storytelling sequence.

Yet, some  of us are better storytellers than others are. Fortunately for us, practice can help us enhance our skills.

Storytelling Is Much More Than Charisma

Cold, hard facts do not stimulate change. Honest scrutiny doesn’t motivate anyone about a goal. Storytelling is key to constructing executive presence.

There are leaders such as General Electric’s Jack Welch and Apple’s Steve Jobs who excelled at storytelling. They knew how to use storytelling to motivate people by appealing to their emotions. Their stories fired up people’s imaginations and stirred souls.

The point is that leaders who tell worthy stories aren’t just liked for their charm. They tell stories because they know how stories can encourage people to take action. Stories produce an optimal learning environment. We tend to process information quicker when it’s conveyed in the form of a story, and we personalize the story so we can relate it to our own experiences.

In the work I do coaching, http://www.dianagabriel.com/teamcoaching.php, some very smart executives,  I have found that many of them don’t really realize how important storytelling is. They are really good at numbers, very analytical and excellent at their jobs. But many executives could learn to tell inspiring stories that connect and light a fire under their people.

What’s your opinion?

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