Telling An Effective Story

27 Mar

Many of today’s most successful leaders today share one common characteristic – the ability to communicate effectively through storytelling. Storytelling proves to be fundamental in leadership communication because it is quick, moving, memorable, and refreshing.

When telling a story, professional communicators must always be intentional about what they are communicating, why they are communicating, and how they are communicating. The foundation of successful storytelling is its ability to connect the leader with his or her audience to share the experience from the story. The following three strategies will help any leader ably relate to the audience.

  1. Have A Purpose For Telling The Story – Many leaders tell a personal story simply because they like the story and want to see how their audience will react to it. Since all professional communication must have a specific goal, any story being told must clearly connect to the story’s goal. Once a leader sets the goal for his story and decides how he would like to audience to react, he can strategically select a story.
  2. Make It Relatable – A leader’s story will never succeed in communicating a message if it fails to focus on the audience. Leaders must be cognizant of selecting stories that the audience will feel close to and that matches its culture and attitude. Accurately evaluating the audience and its perspectives then becomes crucial before a leader selects a story.
  3. Craft and Practice – Leaders need to shape their stories to deliver the exact message they desire and influence the audience. The best storytellers plan specific words to use, include vivid details, use sensory language, and appropriately tweak the truth if need be. Practicing pace and timing is also critical, as they contribute to the story’s fluidity and natural feel. Good delivery will certainly enhance the message within the story.

Storytelling inspires people to act in ways that numbers, charts, and PowerPoint slides simply cannot. By following the steps listed above, leaders can become more effective in evoking powerful feelings from their audiences and encourage the change they want to see in their organizations.

by Peter Friedman

Sources:

http://www.ceoonline.com/pages/id49027.aspx

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2011/05/19/leadership-is-all-about-telling-a-great-story/2/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/06/08/why-leadership-storytelling-is-important/

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