Help people connect with your messages in the workplace, whether it’s at regular team meetings or delivering training.
Storytelling is the current buzzword in communications. Brands, companies and organisations are tapping into the technique to engage with their customers, create a greater connection with their products and ultimately to do better in the business world.
What is more often overlooked is how storytelling as a technique can help internal communications within a business too. Whether delivering important internal change messages or gaining buy-in for new strategies and projects, keeping up team morale or delivering training, the way you connect with your audience has a dramatic impact on the end result.
“People often say: ‘Training is as dull as dishwater.’ Everything in some way should be enjoyable or an experience. It should involve us – that’s how we change, develop, think and experience the world.” - Lily Pender, theWholeStory, Sundial Group L&D Thought Leaders Conference 2018
Take yourself out of the workplace for a moment and think about how a story makes you feel when you hear one. It could be a classic fairy-tale or something a friend told you at the pub. Whatever story comes to mind – you remember it because the storyteller somehow made you connect with the content.
Breaking it Down: Tips for Storytelling in the Workplace
Identify when Storytelling is Appropriate
Any time you need to share important messages with colleagues, give people an update on a project or gain buy-in to something new, storytelling could be a useful technique. Company leaders speaking to a team or department, sessions involving the delivery of training or change management messages can all benefit from storytelling techniques.
Know your Message
What is the purpose of communicating with others in the organisation about a particular topic? When you’re clear on the purpose or desired end result, you can build your story around it.
Explore, Explain and Prove
Most people expect at least one of three angles to be covered in a story: an explanation, exploration of a topic, or evidence to prove a point. If you do all three, you’re likely to satisfy the expectations of your whole audience. Having this information also gives you authority to deliver an important message to colleagues, lending your story authenticity and kudos for including the important information.
Beginning, Middle and End
All good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Start by giving some background information to ensure everyone in your audience is starting off on the same foot. Then move onto exploring, explaining and proving your point. Finish with your take away message, which you can also mention throughout the delivery of your content to ensure the message sticks in the minds of your audience.
What do People Need to Know?
It can be tempting to talk around a subject and include the most interesting subject matter. Think about what people need to know instead. It isn’t always the most exciting content, but ensuring the information is relevant to your audience and having a call to action ensures there is meaning behind your story.
Adding a relatable element can make or break the success of the delivery of your content. Incorporate moments of fun, emotion and description when appropriate to keep people engaged. Change the pace, emphasise points and don’t read from a script. Being ‘human’ means people will engage with what you’re saying.
“Storytelling can help people think, speak and do better.” - Lily Pender, theWholeStory, Sundial Group L&D Thought Leaders Conference 2018
Using storytelling techniques in the workplace can help employees connect with important messages. Effective communication means better working relationships, improved productivity and company loyalty – and storytelling can be the key.