Successfully Share Through Stories

04.29.13 2The utmost effective method of being inspirational to someone is through a  good leadership story. one that creates emotional buy-in. Although many executives and managers know this, only a few find it easy to create a story that works.

It is important that your language is plain, simple and direct which will allow your point o shine through. You don’t want to complicate the story with lots of descriptive words or too much detail. Allow your listeners use their imaginations.

Include the following five key elements to add interest to your story:

  • Surprise: what makes your story so unusual?
  • Mystery: What about your story will cause your listeners to become curious.
  • Conflict: The main characters situation should  be one that the audience can relate with.
  • Brevity: Use enough words to make the story come alive—but no more.
  • Repetition: When used correctly, a catchphrase can drive your message home.

Where can you find stories?

In the work I do coaching people,, I’m aware of many stories. And if you think about it, I’m sure you are too. You have to develop a “story antennae,” and be on the consant look-out. Potential stories are everywhere, but you may not be aware of them until you practice storytelling for a while.

It’s fine to begin with borrowed stories from other speakers, books and the Internet, but be sure you credit them properly.

You can gain an limitless supply of great stories by paying attention to the stories others share. Some find it to be helpful  to begin a story notebook or a computer file that can be accessed at the appropriate occasion.

Anything that captures your attention can be turned into a story. Frequently, life’s little details contain big lessons, so begin to develop your sense of “story radar.” After an interesting conversation or encounter, ask yourself if you can use the incident to illustrate a leadership principle.

Most of us don’t distinguish a story when we’re in the middle of it. It only becomes a story when you tell someone what happened. As with anything, you grow your skills through practice. Make a pledge to yourself to start practicing this week. Pick three stories to tell, and play with the details to figure out how to emphasize the key points.

Otherwise, pick a challenge or lesson you want to teach through story. Then, match the story to the objective.

What’s been your experience with telling stories? Leave me a comment.


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